PIPPO THE FOOL by Tracey E. Fern


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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The tale of Filippo Brunelleschi’s unlikely bid to win the right to construct the dome for Florence’s cathedral. The slim story attempts to describe the challenge: to build a dome for the cathedral that would retain its beauty yet support its tremendous weight. Irreverently referred to as “Pippo the Fool” for his dabbling with “peculiar machines” and “outlandish structures,” Brunelleschi nevertheless presents an ingenious plan to float the dome over the cathedral with two domes, one inside the other. Colorful tile, marble and painted walls of Renaissance buildings provide a credible 15th-century Florentine setting. Estrada’s palette and form, although more angular, are reminiscent of de Paola. The language, however, is uneven, jumping from lyrical descriptions of the cathedral to an awkward description of Brunelleschi’s mood as a “bubble” in his chest. Regrettably for a book about architecture, neither text nor illustrations effectively convey to readers just exactly how the dome works, leaving them with a story of artistic determination, not genius. The backmatter provides some bricks and mortar for the story but may well be missed by young readers. (bibliography) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-57091-655-7
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2009


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