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LEONARDO'S FABLES AND JESTS: Retold by Edgar Herbert Brice-Smythe

Author: Leonardo da Vinci

Illustrator: Edgar Herbert Brice-Smythe

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: E & E Publishing, ½2003

Material: paperback

Summary: Leonardo da Vinci is well known for his inventions and artwork. Few people, however, know about his sense of humor and interest in entertaining his patrons. This is a small volume of short stories taken from da Vinci's own writing.

Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12: read yourself; 9 and up

Interest Level: 8 to 10

Age of Child: Read with a 9-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: "This is cool." My daughter loved the idea that these jokes and stories were hundreds of years old. She especially liked the riddles at the back.

Adult Reader Reaction: I was surprised that my daughter liked this one. I had tried to read it before and she said it looked boring (based on the cover). The information is fascinating and offers a perspective that I didn't even think about: Leonardo was a salesman. I do wish, though, it had some illustrations. The text is written at a level for developing readers (second grade), but because they don't likely know who Leonardo da Vinci was, this would be a chance to introduce them to his works visually.

Pros: This slim volume is packed with timeles fables and jokes that kids today will laugh at, and maybe even want to copy. Adults are likely to learn things about Leonardo da Vinci that they didn't know, too.

Cons: It needs illustrations.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is an interesting read and well worth your time. Unless you are an art fan or art history buff this isn't one you'll refer to much.

If You Liked This Book, Try: WHO STOLE MONA LISA?   NINE FAMOUS ARTISTS YOUR CHILDREN WILL LOVE; An Art Discovery Primer and Handbook for Parents and Their Children   PIPPO THE FOOL

Educational Themes: This is a book easily read in one sitting. The stories can be extracted to compare with other fables of the time, and there is a lot of vocabulary about the Renaissance you could explore more (patrons), as well as learn more about da Vinci himself.

Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - biography, short stories, jokes, fables and folklore, Italian Renaissance

Date(s) Reviewed: October 2010

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