Friday, January 06, 2017

To The Rescue! Cleonardo The Little Inventor by Mary Grandpre'

Geonardo's work shop was built on top of his house, on top of a hill at the foot of the mountains. Like his parents and grandparents and great-grandparents before him, Geonardo was an inventor. He hammered and welded materials of all kinds to build big inventions.

He live with his father, Leonardo, and his daughter, Cleonardo Wren.

Little Cleo Wren wants to be an inventor, too. But instead of big metal machines, she prefers materials from nature--vines, twigs, feathers and flowers, and sometimes even includes birds and butterflies.

Cleo's attention was planted in plants.

She builds a delicate whirligig, hoping to impress her father and her famous grandfather Leonardo, but he gives her only a pat on the head and benevolently dismisses her invention.

"Oh, what a sweet little toy!" he said.

As the time for the yearly town fair approaches, Geonardo spends most of his time in his workshop, crafting his masterpiece, a fantastic mechanical flying bird. While he works, he misses his little daughter, who seems to be spending even more time than ever in the forest that borders the town. What can she be doing?

Secretly, Cleo, inspired by the moon, is perfecting her own orb, a sphere woven of vines and powered by many butterflies.

And when the great day arrives and Geonardo cranks up the machine which drives his metallic flying fowl, it seems to be a soaring success.

"FLY, BIRD, FLY!" he shouts.

But suddenly disaster strikes, in the form of a great gust of wind which caught the mechanical fowl. It falters, wobbling off course.

Everyone was frozen in fear. Everyone but Cleonardo Wren.

It's girl power (well, actually, butterfly power) to the rescue as Cleo' Wren's nature-craft vine and butterfly contraption lifts off and rises to the occasion, in Mary Grandpre's latest, Cleonardo, The Little Inventor (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic Books, 2016). And with the assistance of her tiny but mighty mite whirligig, Cleo's inventions guide Geonardo's bird to a safe flight and little Wren is honored as a true inventor in the family tradition.

"Amazing!" pronounces the great Leonardo.

Artist Mary Grandpre', best-known for her decorative drawings illustrating the Harry Potter series, has a winner in her Cleonardo, The Little Inventor (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, 2016), brilliantly illustrated in glowing Renaissance palette and charming detail, which tells a story of a young scientist who perseveres and in her unique work finds a place in the family pantheon. As Publishers Weekly puts it, "GrandPré's spreads glow with richly embroidered textiles, exotic foliage, and dramatic lighting.... It's GrandPré's visual pyrotechnics that will entrance readers."

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