A BOY NAMED GIOTTO by Paolo Guarnieri

A BOY NAMED GIOTTO

Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A picture book aimed at older readers, this fictitious biography of Giotto explains how such an artistically inclined child might have been discovered and mentored. In the Middle Ages there was neither the choice of media nor the sense of permanence associated with art today. Lacking other materials, the boy Giotto probably drew in sand, or on stones with charcoal. His father ignores his talent, wanting his son to help herd the family sheep. He forbids his son to attend a religious ceremony, but from the window the boy spies a wonderful painting carried in the procession. He finds out who created it, and manages to meet the older painter, Cimabue, who gives him colors to work with. After spending a day drawing instead of herding sheep, Giotto hides from his father, whom he expects to be very angry. Instead, his father and Cimabue arrive, and are surprised by his talent. The older artist convinces Giotto’s father to let the boy come study as an apprentice, and it isn’t long before the apprentice surpasses the master. This moving tale will ring true for any child struggling for recognition, both in the world of the arts, and in the world of adults. Landmann’s illustrations make this book especially meaningful: they capture the essence of Giotto’s work without copying him, and there’s both a Byzantine and a modern look to her birds (they are almost all eyes), and the almond-eyed characters that inhabit this elegant story. (Picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1999
ISBN: 0-374-30931-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1999