UH-OH, LEONARDO! by Robert Sabuda


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Age Range: 8 - 10
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Sabuda (The Night Before Christmas, not reviewed, etc.) takes an uncharacteristic direction with this freewheeling tale of a young inventor cast back to the time of her hero, Leonardo Da Vinci. He follows Kevin Henkes’s lead in creating a cast of small, somewhat pop-eyed mice, but the settings and costuming, not to mention plot, are more elaborate. Having built a mouse-shaped robot from mirror-written plans found in her local library, Providence discovers that it’s also a time machine when a pair of mischievous mouselings switches it on. Arriving on the outskirts of Renaissance Florence, the terrible two scurry into town with the machine’s wind-up key, leaving Providence and her tagalong little brother to chase them down with the help of Leonardo, a smooth-talking ally. Pausing for full-spread side excursions into an artist’s studio and a printing office, plus glimpses of Florentine daily life and a lavish saint’s day celebration, the author sends his visitors from the future scurrying in various directions, then reunites them for a climactic face-off with an anti-science ecclesiastic, and a last-second rescue that sees them safely home. The mix of fact and fiction is less smooth, but in pace and general tone this resembles the Time Warp Trio series and readers with a yen to tinker will find kindred spirits in both Providence and the insatiably curious polymath after whom she’s modeled herself. (afterword) (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-81160-8
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2003


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