Monday, February 28, 2011

Children's Book Monday

Popping in here as the children begin their schoolwork... I promised my friend, Amy (who has reviewed the exquisite new children's book about Audrey Hepburn), that I would have a review up this week, but yesterday got away from me! Happily, everyone is content and quiet and I am nearby, so I thought I'd share a book that Daddy read to everyone yesterday, and hasn't stopped talking of since!

Leonardo's Horseby Jean Fritz
illustrated by Hudson Talbott

The true story of Leonardo's dream of a giant statue of a horse is a little-known one, but this beautiful book encapsulates the bronze horse's journey and brings it to vivid life.

We already love Hudson Talbott's artwork- some of the boys favorite books are the Tales of King Arthur series, adventurous retellings of the old legends, exquisitely captured through Talbott's artwork.

The dome shape of the top of this book caught my eye first, but turning the pages there in the library and learning of this story for the first time sealed the deal. And this isn't just the story of a horse...

...for we begin when Leonardo is a young boy, and we see the world through his eyes: What a flurry the birds make! How do they do it? We see his love for inventions in the easily recognizable work from his journals as a backdrop to the pages- flying machines, bikes, the human body... but what captures his heart more than anything is his desire to create a bronze horse for the duke of Milan.

He studies the anatomy of horses, spending hours in the stables, examining their muscles and manes, their joints, their ears. When he is finally ready, he creates a twenty-four-foot clay model of his dream and presents it to the Duke, ready to begin casting.

The creation of Leonardo's horse is rather a one-step-forward, two-steps-back situation. In the middle of the project, he paints The Last Supper, but when the clay model of his horse is destroyed by war and rain, all is lost...

...or is it?

There is much more to this story, and it spans hundreds of years. The paintings are beautiful, and the tale is captivating- and there really is a happy ending!

Jean Fritz is an incredible children's author/historian, and all of her books reflect her love of history; I am thankful for authors who spill their love for a subject onto the pages of a book that will teach my children in such a way that makes them want to learn more- and they can, because it's a true story!

Happy Reading!

1 fellow travelers shared:

Kristin said...

Happy to see you again! I am promptly putting this on hold. We are beginning an artist study on Leonardo da Vinci next week (!) so this comes at a perfect time.

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