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Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci Hardcover – August 4, 2009

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 930L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805087036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805087031
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.3 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–5—Similar in format and style to Now & Ben (Holt, 2006), this book focuses on sketches found in Leonardo's writings that reveal an understanding of inventions that would not come into being until hundreds of years after the death of this quintessential Renaissance man. Vivid watercolor illustrations depict more than a dozen, including the hang glider, contact lenses, the tank, and robots. Each facing page appears as a sheet of notes revealing Leonardo's version, which is usually quite similar to the one we know today. Each page of Leonardo's notes contains a few short lines printed in reverse, and an author's note explains how a mirror can be used to view this writing style used by the inventor himself. Barretta provides clear information without veering into scientific explanations. Readers who most closely associate Leonardo with the Mona Lisa will be inspired by the breadth of his interests and the genius of his observations. This accessible introduction will inspire children to look closely at the world around them and come up with some creations of their own.—Lisa Glasscock, Columbine Public Library, Littleton, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Gene Barretta is the author and illustrator of Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin, and Dear Deer, which was a Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts and listed on the Parenting Magazine Mom-Tested Books of the Year List. He holds a B.F.A. in Film Studies from New York University, and has worked for many years in film and television production. He lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, with his wife and son.

More About the Author

Gene Barretta is an award-winning author and illustrator of several children's books. His awards include The 2007 Carolyn W. Field Award from the Pennsylvania Library Association.
Gene began his career as an illustrator for other authors before releasing his first manuscript in 2006, "Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin."
Before he entered the publishing world, Gene completed several animated films for Sesame Street and illustrated for the show Between The Lions.
He has also designed characters for The Jim Henson Company.
He currently resides outside of Philadelphia, PA with his wife, Leslie and son, Benjamin.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on August 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Inventor, artist, mathematician and scientist extraordinaire Leonardo da Vinci may have lived more than five hundred years ago, but his legacy still remains all around us. Leonardo's keen intellect, curiosity, and vision led him to develop the plans for numerous inventions that we regularly use today. A powered air-craft, contact lenses, the movie projector, a single span bridge, the double hull of a ship, a helicopter, and many more useful devices and contraptions are all represented in one form or another in Leonardo's scientific notes and papers.

With its clear text and lively illustrations, Gene Barretta's new book brings Leonardo's ingenious ideas to life for young readers. The format of showing images of each original sketch side-by-side with the modern version works extremely well in communicating the depth of Leonardo's interests and foresight. This book makes an excellent vehicle for teaching children about the enormous contributions to society made possible by innovation and creative thinking.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Even if you've never felt the slightest inclination to write a non-fiction picture book a day of your life, it's still possible to take a gander at a book, blink twice, and say to yourself, "Now why didn't I think of that?" Today's example: Gene Barretta's newest. When you're an American child you are inundated with a lot of fancy names of folks, most white, many male, and almost all dead. Dead white men predominate and blend together. It's hardest to remember them if they were simply aligned with concepts rather than things. This is why I think that most kids are taught about historical persons who invented or drew things. Inventors and artists make up the bulk of my library's biography section and rarely do the two occupations intersect. By logical extension, then, Leonardo de Vinci should by rights be the most memorable man kids are taught about in school. And while there are some great Leonardo bios for youngsters out there (Leonardo: Beautiful Dreamer by Robert Byrd, Leonardo da Vinci by Diane Stanley, Leonardo da Vinci by Kathleen Krull, etc.) when it comes to making the man pertinent to kids today I can't think of a smarter book than Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci. Read the concept, page through the book, and take in every last the word. Your conclusion? If you're a kid it might be that Leonardo was one heckuva genius. If you're an adult, it might be, "Now why didn't I think of that?Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Terri L. Jones on August 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I did not know da Vinci wrote backwards because he was left-handed and didn't want to smudge the ink. I also didn't know he was the first to dream up airplanes, helicopters, hang gliders and even tanks. It affirms my belief that people like da Vinci, Einstein and Ben Franklin were just not of this earth. Either that or they simply used their brains to the best of their abilities. Gene Baretta's talents are that amazing also (he even writes backwards like da Vinci and challenges us to hold a mirror up to the words to figure them out). I also own Now & Ben and I'd love to share them with my kids' school, but these books are too good to give up. ~ Terri Jones, Temecula, CA.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mv_shark on February 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was super excited about this book ... it's a great idea and even well done (based on its own spec) but it was lacking in the personal connection I was seeking for my kid audience.

I love reading to my 8 year old about people who follow their passion, are willing to take a risk, try new things, etc. Certainly Leonardo was a brilliant mind. However, my expectations were off. I thought this was a bit more about his life story and not JUST a comparison of what we've found in his sketches and how it compares to what has been invented since. It came off a bit dry and it didn't seem to make that "he was a kid once" connection that I was looking for.

Further, although it's *mind-boggling* what he had envisioned 400+ year before so many "inventions" were actually made/tested ... the long list of examples was presented in a way that seemed a bit too neat and tidy. Almost like his press people were putting in the spin and maybe even trying too hard to get him credit. Lastly, they were NOT clear about when he lived. They had specific dates on each "modern" invention but no clear dates for his sketches or even his life (some said "400 years earlier" but a child is left to do the math!?). A real miss for somebody who wants to know more about Leonardo and not just his cool ideas.

Okay, I read it once and should ask my 8 year old (I may update we have totally opposite reviews!) but, depending on your expectations, be careful whether you put this at the top of your buy list. Sadly, it is no longer on mine!
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