Leonardo's Horse by Jean Fritz

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"A scintillating sliver of history. . . . An inventive introduction to the Renaissance and one of its masters." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"An unusual and surprisingly touching story . . . . An offbeat and intriguing read." (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review)

"At times sad, silly, and telling, this is a wholly entertaining book." (School Library Journal, starred review)

"Filled with engaging details of Leonardo and his world. . . . Illustrations which range from utterly recognizable scenes of Florence to the ghostly horses at Leonardo's deathbed. . . . An unusual biography for young people, and one well worth poring over . . . . A unique way of picturing a unique world . . . . An extraordinary tribute." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

About Jean Fritz

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In His Own Words... "Children's book authors have to be among the luckiest people in the world. Not only am I paid to do what I love most, but I get to do it without having to grow up. More accurately, the seven-year-old I Hudson is no longer relegated to an ever-receding file in the memory bank hut is once again out-front, fully engaged, sometimes even calling the shots in an active collaboration with Lis adult counterpart. "I'll always be grateful for the solid, all-American upbringing I was given in the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky, but going to school in Rome was a revelation for me. After graduating from Tyler School of Art in Rome, I extended my education by wandering through Europe, settling in Amsterdam for a few years, and then moving to Hong Kong, where I dabbled in the fashion industry. My travels eventually continued through Southeast Asia and culminated with four magical months in Bali. I finally reached New York, fulfilling a childhood ambition, in 1974. Although my original intent was to become a painter, the free-lance illustration work I picked tip to support myself soon predominated as my primary art form. Pursuing my vision in this direction eventually led to writing and illustrating children's books. I had always told stories with pictures. I began to paint with words. "My series of picture books on the Arthurian legends represents the most ambitious and challenging opportunity that I've ever accepted. Called the central myth of Western civilization by philosopher Joseph Campbell, the Arthurian legends have been evolving over a 1,500 year period, along the way gathering tip and expressing our concepts of love, honor, and courage. Only within the last century have they taken the form of adventure novels for younger readers, and I know of no other attempt to compile the entire cycle into a series of picture books until now. The sheer scale of the material-the vast array of characters and the complexity of their relationships-is beyond Dickens or even "Days of Our Lives." "The curious occurrence that I've experienced as I've delved deeper through the layers of allegory in my research is that as the underlying truth is revealed to me, I'm not only learning something new about the fine art of storytelling but usually something about myself as well. The first three books, for example, are about Arthur coming into his greatness. In the first book it is thrust upon him by accident of his birth, and in the second he achieves it through his own actions. Finally, in the third, he comes to realize the greatness inherent within himself, as it is within all of us. It is the kind of greatness that finds expression when we finally accept ourselves and embrace the roles open to us in lifewhether it is that of king, gardener, parent, or children's book author. "My gratitude is boundless for all those who have Supported my creative progress and believed in me long before I believed in myself. By recognizing that writing and illustrating books for young readers is, in fact, my calling, I can serve a greater purpose than fulfilling my own needs. I am reminded of what I heard a blues singer once say: "Talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to Him. Jean Fritz, the recipient of a National Humanities Medal, lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Sally Wern Comport lives in Annapolis, Maryland.
Published October 1, 2001 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. 48 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Leonardo's Horse

Kirkus Reviews

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A veteran writer of lively biographies has turned her attention to quite an engaging story: the biography of an equine sculpture.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Leonardo's Horse

Publishers Weekly

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Her narrative opens as the ultimate Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci, earns a commission from the duke of Milan to create a sculpture to honor the duke's father—a bronze horse three times larger than life.

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