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Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer
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Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  88 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Famous in his time as a painter, prankster, and philosopher, Leonardo da Vinci was also a musician, sculptor, and engineer for dukes, popes, and kings. What remains of his work-from futuristic designs and scientific inquiry to artwork of ethereal beauty-reveals the ambitious, unpredictable brilliance of a visionary, and a timeless dreamer.Robert Byrd celebrates this passio ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published July 28th 2003 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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Apr 17, 2013 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their older children
Wow. This book was seriously long for a picture book. It took us about two weeks of reading a couple of pages each night to slog our way through it.

The positives: There's a ton of great information, wonderful illustrations and a comprehensive look at Leonardo's life as well as of some of his contemporaries. The page on mirror writing was very cool.

The negatives: It's soooo long, with an overwhelming amount of information and at times the font is too small and fancy to be very legible. I know I
Jan 03, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing
This lavishly illustrated picture book biography of Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci paints a well-rounded portrait of the painter, inventor and philosopher who dabbled in everything from astronomy to weaponry. It is also timely; with the tremendous success of Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code (Doubleday, 2003), Leonardo has never been a more fascinating figure.

Born in the Italian countryside, Leonardo had a curious eye and artistic hand from the start. These two qualities emerged in each end
Tanya W
After a poor start one day (kids weren't in the mood for a book with long pages), I thought we would just return it to the library. How happy I am that we started again yesterday. We read the first 1/3 in about 45 minutes. What a WONDERFUL book about Leonardo DaVinci.

So far it has given us a chance to talk about names and where they come from, how society once treated illegitimate children, art, Italy, and the destruction of war (which destroyed a larger than life sculpture of a horse that was o
Camille Tesch
Sep 26, 2016 Camille Tesch marked it as to-read
Italy ages 8-10
Dec 07, 2015 Sheridan rated it it was amazing
Byrd writes this book in a way that truly captives the audience and leaves them in amazement about Leonardo Da Vinci’s life. In this book, Leonardo’s life is told from when he was first just a boy who was fascinated by the beauty of nature from a young age to developing into a man capable of producing art in the most complicated of ways. His passion for art is shown throughout the pages and comes to life not only in the text but in the pictures and even subtext. Growing up he was never satisfied ...more
I started reading this book for a triple super essay I was starting to compose on Renaissance Art: Leonardo da Vinci being only a subtopic of that. I finished this book devoting my whole essay to him.
As I read, I absolutely fell in love as much as you ever can with a dead man's mind and soul. He was so divinely unique. The magnificence of his life is not one that can be contained in words, nor the wonder of his curiosity and imagination be confined into mere sentences, but one can only try.
As I
Alex Daniels
Mar 25, 2016 Alex Daniels rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer is a beautifully written and illustrated biography for children on Leonardo Divinci. The illustrations are so intricate and colorful, it makes reading the book even more fun. This book is a great biography for young and middle readers. There is a lot of content, but I think it would entertain quite a few younger readers. I love all the little quotes and passages by the pictures from Leonardo's notes or extra little information. This book also provides a good look at h ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Kaycie rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Leonardo: Beautiful Dreamer by Robert Byrd is a book depicting the entertaining life of Leonardo Da’ Vinci. Leonardo was a very talented man, famous for being a painter, sculpture, musician, engineer, philosopher, and even prankster. Leonardo is a famous dreamer, who used his scientific inquiry to bring brilliance to his beautiful designed artwork. Byrd’s purpose for this book was to follow the journey Leonardo had from the beginning of interests, to how he took off in his talent. Leonardo learn ...more
Dec 07, 2013 Kristy rated it really liked it
I love this book, and so do my children! It focuses, to start, on an early memory of Leonardo's of being almost attacked by a huge bird of prey. Next up: his love of the natural world, observing it and experimenting with it. Insects, snakes, tadpoles, spiders, other wee things. He made a dragon shield for his uncle when he was a boy that actually breathed out smoke! It was so horrific - ahem, lifelike - that his father ran screaming from the room. Allegedly. If you can't tell, I enjoy this book! ...more
Makayla Coffey
Leonardo was a very talented man, famous for being a painter, sculpture, musician, engineer, philosopher, and even prankster. Leonardo is a famous dreamer, who used his scientific inquiry to bring brilliance to his beautiful designed artwork. Byrd’s purpose for this book was to follow the journey Leonardo had from the beginning of interests, to how he took off in his talent. Leonardo learned his way with architecture simply by living in the Renaissance period, being influenced by the artwork and ...more
Gemma Duling
Apr 24, 2015 Gemma Duling rated it liked it
Personal Reaction:
I liked book because it captures the reader's eye. There is a lot of good information and really goes into depth about Leonardo.

I would use this book as a research tool for children wanting to learn about Leonardo Da Vinci. It is too long for a read aloud, but has a lot of good information for a third grader doing a report on Da Vinci. The book was a little distracting with the side notes on some pages, so having children read it individually would be best to give them
Mrs Bond
Apr 12, 2009 Mrs Bond rated it liked it
An almost overwhelming amount of information poured onto each page; this is certainly a thorough look at DaVinci. Alongside the main text the sidebars add additional facts and quotes. Color everywhere - the illustrations are fantastic. Additional reference aids: Timeline begins with Leonardo's birth, covers major events in Leonardo's life as well as world events that would have interested or impacted him, ends with 1880's publication of Leonardo's notebooks. Bibliography includes sources for quo ...more
May 28, 2011 Cheryl rated it liked it
Recommended to Cheryl by: El Paso Public Library
Beautifully illustrated although I felt it was close to visually overwhelming. Well-written with very dense text. Definitely a book that would be read aloud over several sittings, with time in-between to think and discuss. I read the library copy and unfortunately the dustcover has to be taped on the book, obscuring many of the quotes.

Bibliography in back.

Not really for early readers. I'd label this a chapter book in picture book format.
Apr 20, 2015 Shelli rated it really liked it
This book would have been better presented in a small illustrated chapter book format instead of an overly lengthy picture book. Most children will not complete reading it, especially since some of the rather miniature text is so overly cursivey. That being said my daughter I both enjoyed reading over the numerous interests and achievements of Leonardo da Vinci, a man who lay on his death bed lamenting about how little he accomplished.
Jarrett Bell
One of the strangest picture books I have ever read, simply by format. Think of this more as an interactive collection of texts with lots of abstract pictures. You almost feel like you are reading an interactive and imaginative encyclopedia of Da Vinci. But as an older child I can see myself staring at the beautifully detailed illustrations for hours.
Apr 23, 2012 Demetra rated it it was amazing
Stunning. Another winner. Read this and Tree of Life by Peter Sis. Buy them for the intelligent children in your life. This publisher (Dutton, a division of Penguin) hit a major home run with this book.
Amber Henrie
Oct 23, 2010 Amber Henrie rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This was an excellent biography about the life of Leonardo da Vinci. I really enjoyed the pictures and the different stories it told about Leonardo's life. I don't think I would ever read it to a class though, because it was extremely long.
Apr 11, 2015 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Hey, I know this is a kids'book, but I just love Leonardo da Vinci. This book has loads of pictures, of course. But there are some little known facts about the master that you might get a kick out of.
James Govednik
Nov 04, 2009 James Govednik rated it liked it
Fabulous detail, in both the narrative and the illustrations. Good example of how text and illustration can work together and be greater than the sum of the parts.
Katie Fitzgerald
Read for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Reviewed on my blog:
Dec 29, 2008 Erica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juv, non-fiction

Biography as a picture book. Radical change-non-linear narratives written as smaller sections to accompany the main text. Beautiful artwork.
Feb 15, 2014 Beverly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-biography
Excellent picture book biography. An homage to his genius and creativity.
Lots of panels with illustrations, text, and quotes from Leonardo.
Hannah rated it really liked it
May 23, 2011
Elise rated it it was amazing
Jul 01, 2015
Janet rated it really liked it
Dec 13, 2013
Emily Vaught
Emily Vaught rated it it was amazing
Nov 30, 2012
Poornima rated it really liked it
Jul 15, 2010
Ruth Maitlen
Ruth Maitlen rated it it was amazing
Jul 07, 2015
Conner rated it it was amazing
Apr 22, 2008
Cynthia Saltman
Cynthia Saltman rated it it was amazing
Aug 04, 2014
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Robert Byrd has been delighting children of all ages with his whimsical, fantasy-filled children's books for over 30 years. As author and illustrator he has the rare talent to see his fanciful visions through to the minutest detail. Whether enlightening audiences to the many talents of Leonardo DaVinci or taking us into a wonderous world filled with foxes and bears in military attire, Bob, (as he' ...more
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