Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Leonardo da Vinci by Diane Stanley Annotation #3

Stanley, D. (1996). Leonardo Da Vinci. Illustrated by Diane Stanley. New York:
Morrow Junior Books.

Book Type/Pages:


Grade Level:

This book is appropriate for students in grades three through eighth.

Curriculum Links:

This book could be used during social studies, science, or art instruction.

Author Credibility:

Diane Stanley has written other pictorial biographies, as well as this one on Leonardo da Vinci. In her acknowledgements, she lists Professor John Shearman of Harvard University Department of Fine Arts, as assisting with reading the text.


ALA Notable Book Award; Boston-Globe Horn Book Honor; Orbis Pictus Award; Publisher’s Weekly Best Book Award; Land of Enchantment Book Award Masterlist

Book Summary:

This is a pictorial biography of the life of Leonardo da Vinci. It begins at his birth, as the son to a father of class and a peasant mother. Being illegitimate by birth, some career options were not open to Leonardo. He studied art and was apprenticed to the famous artist Andrea del Verrocchio. Leonardo flourished in his art and he joined an artist guild. Leonardo then worked for several different patrons and completed many different important art pieces. During this time, he also invented, studied the human body, and created new methods of painting.

National/State Standards:

The social studies standards addressed by this book are People, Places, Environments, Science, Technology, and Society. This book also addresses the science standard of Science and Technology.


The illustrations in this book were done in watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, and photo collage. Also included in the illustrations, are reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings from his journals. The pages have a border that was adapted from one of da Vinci’s designs. The large, brightly colored illustrations are very engaging in drawing in the reader.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include a pronunciation guide, an introduction, a full page illustration opposite full page text, a postscript, a bibliography, and a list of books for recommended for younger readers. An interesting note is that the dust jacket and cover art have mirror images including the writing.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book during a study of the Renaissance period in history, famous artists and/or inventors, and a biography genre study in literature.

My Response to the Book:

I thought this was a great book. I had already read Leonardo’s Horse by Jean Fritz, so I was interested in learning more about Leonardo. I liked learning how Leonardo developed his craft as an artesian, but did so much more that paint. His many inventions were very interesting to learn about. I thought his method of writing backwards and being left-handed was neat!

Related Texts:

Leonardo Da Vinci for Kids: His Life and Ideas, 21 Activities by Janis Herbert
Amazing Leonardo Da Vinci Inventions You Can Build Yourself by Maxine Anderson
Who Was Leonardo Da Vinci? by Roberta Edwards
Leonardo, The Beautiful Dreamer by Robert Byrd

This book has a detailed bibliography and a recommended for younger readers list at the back of the book.

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