Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Stone Giant: Michelangelo's David and How He Came to Be

Stone Giant: Michelangelo's David and How He Came to Be

Jane Sutcliffe
Illustrator:  John Shelley 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Charlesbridge, 2014   ISBN: 978-1580892957

For nearly forty years a huge block of cream colored marble has been standing in the city of Florence. The original plan was to turn the block of marble into a statue of David, the same David who defeated Goliath. A few artists worked on the project, but none of them got very far before they gave up or died. Leonardo da Vinci was offered the job of creating the statue, but he wasn’t interested in taking it on.

   Then the friends of a famous Florence-born artist ask him to come home to create the statue of David. The artist’s name is Michelangelo Buonarroti and he remembers the block of marble well. Though he is doing very well in Rome, Michelangelo comes back to his home town and he carefully examines the big block of marble. The stone is “badly roughed out and weatherworn,” but Michelangelo sees that David, or his version of David, lies within the stone. All Michelangelo has to do is to chip away at the stone to find the figure that has “been there all along, waiting.”

   Michelangelo gets the job, he builds a shed around the stone, and he gets to work. For almost three years he works until the David he saw in his mind’s eye is complete.

   In this beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written picture book the story of a statue is told. As they read the narrative, readers will find out a little about the creative process. They will also learn why the statue of David meant so much to the people of Florence, and why it is now one of the most famous and most admired statues in the world.

   At the back of the book the author provides his readers with more information about the statue of David.