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Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci
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Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  186 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
In 1781, Thomas Paine came up with a model for a single-span bridge; in 1887, Adolf Eugen Fick made the first pair of contact lenses; and in 1907, Paul Cornu built the first helicopter. But Leonardo da Vinci thought of all these ideas more than five hundred years ago!

At once an artist, inventor, engineer, and scientist, da Vinci wrote and drew detailed descriptions of wh
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Lisa Vegan
Nov 11, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kids interested in inventions and history, and nature too; veg*n children
This is such a well-designed book. On one page are the histories of various new at the time inventions and on the facing pages are the many years before (decades, centuries) of the ideas of da Vinci, via his drawings. It shows what an inventive and forward thinker da Vinci was. I like how at the end of the book (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 16, 2010 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a fascinating look at the genius and inventiveness that is credited to Leonardo da Vinci. Just a fraction of his notes have been found, but what we have seen shows creativity, precise scientific observation and a shrewd ability to copy what he found in nature. The way the book is arranged, with the first known use of an item that he thought up and depicted in his notes as the "Neo" items, alongside his depictions (the "Leo" items), shows his foresight and amazing scientific discoveries. ...more
Aug 31, 2009 Betsy rated it really liked it
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 wi ...more
Kaye Cloutman
Aug 27, 2009 Kaye Cloutman rated it it was amazing
More often than not, Leonardo da Vinci gets put in a box together with Rembrandt, Monet, Michelangelo, Picasso, and Van Gogh. While all of these artists are to be revered and appreciated, many would agree that Leonardo da Vinci far exceeded all their combined talents. He was a true genius, somewhat in the same category as Nikola Tesla. Da Vinci was a real visionary and way beyond his years with his ideas and contraptions, but there was much more to him than that. In Neo Leo, author Gene Barretta ...more
Sep 28, 2014 Sophia rated it it was amazing
Leonardo da Vinci is my favorite inventor! I like learning about him!
Oct 26, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it
This book is all about how Leonardo da Vinci came up for the idea for many modern inventions back in the 15th and 16th centuries, 400 years before they were invented properly in the 19th and 20th centuries. The book discusses his plans and drawings for the first man-powered aircraft, a glider, contact lenses, a projector, a single-span bridge, tanks whose designs were based off of turtles and other war paraphenalia (such as grenades, machine guns and a giant catapult called a trebuchet) , the he ...more
Ruth Ann
Oct 02, 2014 Ruth Ann rated it it was amazing
At my local library, this picture book is located in the 600's. I would recommend it for students ages 8-12. The book focuses on the ideas found in Leonardo's original notes. On the lefthand page, in full color, readers will find each invention as it first appeared in the modern world (Neo). On the right-hand page, in brown tones, Leonardo's version is shown with backwards script. (Leo always wrote backwards, perhaps because he was left-handed and this prevented the ink from being smeared. Reade ...more
S10_Jessica Oster
format: picture book
age: grades 2-8
protagonist: Leonardo DaVinci

This is a picture book biography about all of the inventions DaVinci helped to create. The illustrations are bright and offer a fun way of looking at the roots of different inventions based on DaVinci's many pages of notes, without going to far into detail. It also includes some interaction with the text as it has places where readers can read more about different inventions by holding the book up to a mirror to read the backward pr
Dec 01, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo Da Vinci by Gene Barretta is a clever informational picturebook book about the great scientist, inventor, engineer and artist and his many ideas which fore-shadowed modern inventions.

An author's note begins the book, introducing Leonardo and noting his use of mirror writing, which Barretta uses when discussing his ideas and inventions. Barretta's text, with accompanying illustrations, focuses on over a dozen of Leonardo's sketches and ideas, pairing them wi
Quinn Rollins
Jan 06, 2016 Quinn Rollins rated it really liked it
Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci is a 2009 picture book by Gene Barretta. The author and illustrator has a similar book on Benjamin Franklin, but that doesn't make this one any less enjoyable.

Leonardo da Vinci was fascinated by the world around him. He studied animals and people. He watched plants grow and birds fly. He explored the mighty rivers. Nature was his teacher. It inspired his remarkable studies and inventions.

With that brief biography, Barretta sets up the reader, and
Beth Maline
Oct 25, 2012 Beth Maline rated it really liked it
This was one of the first books I picked, and I loved it. The illustrations are clever, and introduce a young reader (of maybe 7-10 years of age) to a painter that adults are all familiar, but takes the reader through the mind of Leonardo da Vinci the inventor, the creator, the dreamer. While we are all familiar with how he created wonderful paintings - the timeless classics - this book introduces robots and flying planes (gliders) to the reader in cheerful drawings and this offbeat genius.

Inhabiting Books
This very fun and eminently readable book highlights the inventions of probably the most well-known Renaissance Man. Leonardo da Vinci's fascination with the natural world inspired him to create all kinds of drawings and inventions based on the patterns he saw in nature. Gene Barretta has shown that so many "modern" inventions were products of da Vinci's mind hundreds of years earlier (e.g. flying machines, contact lenses, movie projectors, single-span bridges, tanks, gears and chains, etc.)

Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Playful, edge-to-edge illustrations and cheerily worded nuggets of history, mystery, physics, and biology paint a thrilling picture of a brilliantly curious and creative man that will tickle the scientist in all of us.

You can listen in on our chat about this book on our Just One More Book! Children's Book Podcast.

Right now, you can test out over 60 of Leonardo da Vinci's prototypes at Leonardo da Vinci: Man Inventor Genius.

Other books mentioned:
Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Fra
Leah Koch
Apr 29, 2015 Leah Koch added it
Shelves: biographies
I like this biography because it focuses on how Leonardo Da Vinci's ideas and inventions impact our world today. The discussion about how technology and science have advanced will be beneficial in the classroom. A cause and effect discussion can affect different subjects as well.
These books are very enjoyable. We love how they show what Leonardo's life would have been like on one side of the page. On the other side it shows how it has impacted our modern lives.
We have enjoyed every one of these that we have read together.
Although this book had some good info in it, I found it annoying the way it jumped around. There seemed to be no order to the book. I would have liked it to go in chronological order.
Francesca Pezzano
This book talks about da Vinci and all of his projects throughout his life. This book is important for children to read because he was a famous person in history.
Nov 17, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 3rd grade and up
So cool! The "Neo" of this book shows inventions in use today, usually credited to a "modern" inventor. The "Leo" portion, on the facing page, shows how these ideas were foreshadowed by the ideas and sketches of Leodardo da Vinci.

His bridge design shows how the triangle is the strongest shape (math tie-in). "He considered himself a pacifist but looked at weapons as a design challenge."

I was amazed to read that people are still creating things based on his sketches, and that 2/3 of his notes ar
Apr 10, 2015 Colleen rated it liked it
Shelves: kids, picture-books
Simple and straightforward explanation of LdV's ideas & inventions. Cute idea of adding the mirror writing throughout.
Jul 17, 2015 Anne rated it liked it
Considering it's a 40 page picture book, there is a LOT of information stuffed into here. Almost too much. The backwards text in a weird script is off-putting. I'm not going to read this in front of a mirror. The order of events in the book makes absolutely no sense. It doesn't have to be in chronological order, but there isn't a discernible pattern. I can't imagine reading this aloud or giving it to a child younger than 8. If it weren't for the historical and cultural content of the book, this ...more
Brianna Crall
Mar 25, 2014 Brianna Crall rated it it was amazing
Students enjoyed this book. Nice look at inventions and evolution of objects.
Nov 28, 2011 Jenny rated it really liked it
Leonardo da Vinci was brilliant and ingenious and it's hard to imagine that about 2/3 of his notes have been he may have had a million other ideas that we may never know about. I find him to be one of the most fascinating people in history. This was a great introduction into his ideas and how they have shaped today's inventions. I liked how Barretta showed both Da Vinci's ideas and then gave credit to the modern person who created them and made them work successfully. I learned a coup ...more
Nov 19, 2014 Mckinley rated it liked it
The Neo (new) on the left side page with Leonardo's invention sketches in the right side page. For young audience.
Apr 30, 2013 Victoria rated it really liked it
Shelves: edre-4870
What: This book is about the timeless inventions of Leonardo da Vinci. It details his work on airplanes and also shows his notes that he wrote backwards. This book also shows the inventors that got their ideas from da Vinci. It is a very colorful book that is great for capturing children's attention.

So What: When I bought this book, I had gotten it to create a lesson plan off of. I truly enjoyed it! I have also used it when assessing my students.

Now What: I would like to use this either in a te
Nov 11, 2011 Shelli rated it it was amazing
Every time I read something about Leonardo Da Vinci, I am amazed. How can one person have such a grasp of knowledge on so many varied topics? Flying contractions, weapons of war, underwater breathing apparatus's, the mechanics of the human heart, auto-matrons, the list goes on, and on, and on. All this hundreds of years before anyone else was thinking or researching these ideas. Most of this was Leonard achieved by being observant of life around him. That in itself is something that seems to be ...more
May 28, 2014 PWRL marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2014-new
Sandy Brehl
This is the fourth time I've read this book and it won't be the last. What a great way to introduce Leonardo DaVinci's brilliance to readers of any age. Even those who are aware of his various accomplishments will find surprises here in the details of his quirky habits and many unfulfilled creations. In addition, those who are credited with inventions that he originally conceived receive due attention and reference in the back matter. Colorful illustrations appeal but also clarify concepts.
Sam Bloom
I didn't really love the illustrations in this one - a bit too cutesy and cartoonish for the subject matter, imho - but still a really well-done book. Actually, there was one illustration that was great - the opening spread, with Leo on the left side looking across a medieval village. Art buffs should be able to spot several references to his paintings - not being an art historian, I can only be sure of one (Mona Lisa), but I'm pretty sure there's other stuff in there, too.
Aug 09, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
The great Leonardo da Vinci's many inventions are the focus here. This book compares today's most popular contraptions to the designs found in Da Vinci's notes, and surprise, his notes exhibit that he was ahead of his time in a lot of ways. It's a simple book with call and answer style text structure. There are additional notes written on certain pages, but they are written backwards in tribute to Da Vinci's peculiar habit of writing that way. Good read.
Melissa Stewart
May 24, 2010 Melissa Stewart rated it it was amazing
Leonardo Da Vinci is certainly not a new figure in picture book biographies, but Gene Baretta has found a novel way to approach the artist and the many inventions sketched in his notebooks. Each spread features fun representations of contraptions in sa Vinci's notebboks alongside the real-life device that now exists. Overall, the book shows clearly just how much ahead of his time da Vinci was and how his ideas were spot on. Great book.
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Gene Barretta is the author and illustrator of Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin and Neo Leo: The Ageless Ideas of Leonardo da Vinci. He is also author and illustrator of 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 h ...more
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