NEO LEO by Gene Barretta


The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci
by and illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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In a format similar to his Now and Ben (2003), Barretta points out the links between one man’s genius and the development of a varied catalogue of creations. The author acknowledges that many of the ideas mentioned never bore fruit during Leonardo’s lifetime, but drawings and information from his numerous notebooks show that he did indeed posit possible predecessors to such disparate items as parachutes, armored tanks, scuba gear and rotisserie cookers. The colorful, cartoon-style illustrations show an elderly Leonardo observing the world around him and/or testing his theories on the right side while the left-hand pages reveal the (relatively) modern ideas and inventions to which parallels are being drawn. The pictures also offer sly humor (look for the Mona Lisa enjoying a plate of spaghetti) and hint at the level of sophistication required from readers. The text likewise challenges the notion that all picture books are for primary grades with a high-level vocabulary and the inclusion of explanatory notes written backwards, just as Leonardo himself wrote. Energetic, engaging and eclectic—just like its subject. (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8703-1
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2009


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