Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci

Steve Augarde
Illustrator:  Leo Brown 
Historical Fiction and Nonfiction
for ages 8 to 11
Kingfisher, 2009   ISBN: 978-0753461747

Paolo Valenti is only ten years old, and he is feeling very proud because his father has got him an apprenticeship in the studio of master Leonardo da Vinci, in the city of Milan. When he arrives at the studio, Paolo is astonished to discover that Leonardo da Vinci doesn’t just paint. He creates sculptures, he designs scenery and costumes for plays, and he invents all kinds of machines.

At first all Paolo does in the studio is sweep the floors and run errands. Then one day he does something to help his master, attracting the attention of the great man. Pleased with Paolo, Leonardo da Vinci looks at Paolo’s drawings and he also takes the boy with him when he goes to visit his patron, the rich and powerful Duke Ludovico.

In this interesting and engaging book, Steve Augarde combines fact and fiction to create Paolo’s diary. The apprentice’s story is followed by a section of factual information about Leonardo da Vinci’s life. Augarde then goes on to give his readers a picture of what it was like to live in Renaissance Italy, providing a context for Paolo’s and Leonardo da Vinci’s story.

Wonderful illustrations, reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s art works, photographs and maps all compliment the well written and easy to follow text in this excellent book.