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Leonardo da Vinci for Kids

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Leonardo da Vinci for kids

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Book Name: Leonardo da Vinci for kids

Author:Janis Herbert

Publisher:Chicago Review Press, Inc.



# of Pages:92

Illustrations:Color photos, B & W photos and sketches

Experience Required:

Book Review:

This book begins with a timeline to give you an idea of some of the major events involving Gutenberg, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Francois I, Magellan, Luther and Copernicus that occured around Leonardo da Vinci's lifetime. We are also given a history of Leonardo's early years in the chapter, A Boy in Vinci. We learn what he did with his time as a young child, how he was educated and when he began to record the world around him by sketching with chalk on paper.

In the chapter, The Young Apprentice, we learn that Leonardo left the small village of Vinci and went to live in Florence with his father after his grandfather died. His father decides that he must find a trade so he takes him to the bottega (studio) of the artist Andrea del Verrocchio where he becomes an apprentice. This book is full of interesting stories about da Vinci like the fact that he couldn't become a notary like his father because his mother and father didn't marry. Illegitimate children couldn't become doctors or lawyers, attend university or join most guilds.

There are extra articles in this book that don't deal directly with Leonardo's but with issues related to his art, life and the times in which he lived. The topic of these articles include; Pigments and Paint (a mini-article about the components of the paints used during Leonardo's lifetime), Perspective, The Renaissance, Pinpointing the Vanishing Point, The Plague, Italy's Kingdoms and City-States, Art Detectives, Simple Machines, and Who Was Mona Lisa? Another article, Flight gives us an example of how Leonardo's ideas and life work have affected the future. He designed a flying machine and centuries later airplanes were invented.

All the activities in this book relate to da Vinci's life in some way whether they are about his methods of observation, techniques he used or a recipe for food he liked. There is an activity called Mental Exercises to help you understand how he was able to study the world around him. This is just one of the activities that represent the way Leonardo worked and thought. Another example is the activity, Measuring Up which you can use to test one of his theories to see if it works (i.e., Is our ear as long as our nose?).

I like that all the sections in this book include examples of Leonardo's artwork, either in their entirety or as a background to the activity pages so you get a good idea of the types of sketches and paintings he did during his lifetime. Leonardo da Vinci for kids is a good read, letting you see a side of the artist beyond the paintings and the sketches. I couldn't put it down because the stories about his life and times were so interesting.


  • A Life Mask
  • Kitchen Clay
  • Animal Art
  • Leonardo's Lunch
  • For the Birds
  • Learn a Little Italian
  • A Parachute Kite
  • A Renaissance Herb Garden

Overall Rating:


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