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Cleonardo, The Little Inventor

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Cleonardo's father is an inventor. So was her grandfather, her great-grandfather, and all the great-greats before them. Cleo wants to be an inventor too. She tries to help her father in his workshop, but he never uses her great ideas. Can Cleo invent something big and important and perfect all by herself?

This imaginative story of a father and his daughter brings the magic
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published August 30th 2016 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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I can’t get over how much Mary’s artwork reminds me or brings me back to those days when I saw the cover and artclips inside the Harry Potter books. Her style is very distinctive. I love it. She puts so many little humorous details into her drawings. I love the DeVinci picture of Man in the circle and square. It’s also funny that everyone’s name ends in ‘ardo’. I enjoy stuff like that.

Cleonardo is an inventor like her father and her grandfather Leonardo. Cleo tries to offer ideas to her dad,
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young Would-Be Inventors & Artists
Cleonardo Wren was the daughter of inventor Geonardo, and the grand-daughter of inventor Leonardo. A born tinkerer and inventor herself, she longed to join the family tradition, but her fond father never seemed to take her suggestions seriously. When she decides to impress him by inventing something important for the upcoming annual invention contest, it raises the question: will father and daughter's inventions put them in competition with one another, or will they complement each other...?

Edward Sullivan
Seems a bit too calculating in delivering a message.
Melissa Craven
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yabc-shelf
An imaginative take on Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions
See my full review at YA Books Central
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I liked the art, especially the contrast between mechanical and organic, but the story didn't really do anything for me.
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-lit
While the story lacks in focus and character, the artwork is beyond compare. An extraordinary display of GrandPré’s abilities! Plus, the hidden Harry Potter reference is clever and charming.
Cleonardo comes from a long line of inventors, including her father, Geonardo, and her grandfather, Leonardo. The girl enjoys coming up with clever ideas of her own, but her father pays them no mind, whether because he is distracted by his own work or because she's a girl or for some other reason. Still, she persists in dreaming up all sorts of nifty creations. With an eye on showing her father what she can do and getting him to take her seriously, Cleonardo goes to her grandfather for some help ...more
Maria Marshall
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-picture
In preparation for an inventor’s competition, Cleonardo uses sticky bug vine, wings, feathers, butterflies, and twigs, while her father uses more traditional materials of metal, wheels, and gears. Although not specifically juxtaposing nature and technology, I loved that the best invention combines them both. Anyone who has ever felt left out or wanted to impress a parent or teacher will identify with Cleonardo’s burning desire to spend time with her father and demonstrate to him her invention ...more
Merrilyn Tucker
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cleonardo Wren tries to invent things that will help her father, Geonardo's (son of Leonardo), inventions. Although he admires Cleonardo's creations, he kindly dismisses them as "too" this or that. When she makes a whirligig and her grandfather praises it as a toy, Cleo has had enough. She wants to invent something useful. She and her father both enter inventions in the town festival and discover that their products complement each other. With gorgeous illustrations and a gentle, supportive, and ...more
Cleonardo loves to invent like her father, Geonardo, but she loves to base her inventions on nature, whereas her father prefers machinery. After her father gently rejects all of her ideas for the upcoming invention festival, Cleonardo decides to invent something by herself. Eventually Geonardo realizes just how much he misses having her around and decides to invent something that he thinks she will like, a mechanical bird. Later, at the festival, Cleonardo's invention helps when things start to ...more
Oct 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Inspired by her father and grandfather, Cleonardo knows she can be a great inventor. With the Grand Festival of Inventions coming up, she tries to aid her father with his invention, offering natural materials to go with his mechanical ones. When her offers are refused she plans to make her own brilliant invention and enter it in the contest so her father will be proud of her. She is determined it should be something grand and not anything “childish.” On the other side, her father, now missing ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps most well-known (and loved!) for being the original Harry Potter illustrator, Mary Grandpre has now put her considerable talents into her own work--and does a magnificent job!
A young girl and her father work on inventions in their own separate way to try to gain each other's approval--but it turns out the work better together!
Filled with many wonderful messages and lessons for children and adults alike, yet ultimately a beautiful and fun story for all!
I labeled it a fairytale because it *obviously* takes place somewhere near Belle's hometown.

The illustrations are great and the story is fun. I wish there was a little more emphasis on the father learning to value his daughter's style as much as his own in the wording. The illustrations did a good job dropping the hint.

It also kinda showed that he needed her to be successful, again, subtle. This might be my reading too much into the story.
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story is set in a Renaissance town right before the annual Grand Festival of Inventions. Cleonardo comes from a long line of inventors and it is her dream to be an inventor and participate in the Grand Festival. After a few setbacks and some encouragement from her grandfather Leonardo, Cleo saves the day for her father. An inspiring father -daughter, grandfather-granddaughter story about science, inventiveness, and creativity. This will pair well with Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty.
Teresa Edmunds
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Cleonardo comes from a family of inventors. She watches her father work on his inventions and then makes her own creations. Her father pats her head and calls them cute. Cleo doesn't want her inventions to be cute; she wants them to be amazing. When her father's invention goes awry at the town competition, Cleo is able to help save the day. There is a nice feeling of family here, but the story is a bit too simple. The illustrations are lovely, which enhances the book immensely.
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-books
Cleonardo has a grandfather who likes to invent things. You guessed it - his name is Leonardo. "Cleonardo Wren wanted to be an inventor too, and she had great ideas." Their town has an Annual Grand Festival of Inventions coming up and Cleonardo wants to invent something spectacular. Great beginning book to introduce makerspaces, inventors or just a great read aloud.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Story about a young girl who wants to invent like her dad, but he always dismisses her ideas. Her grandfather helps her set up her own shop out in nature so she can make her own inventions. Both dad and daughter enter inventions into the Cleo able to show her father that her inventions are important like his?
Nov 24, 2016 rated it liked it
While in search of some great STEM books, I saw this title and hoped for the best. Mary GrandPre's illustrations are superb and are the main draw to the book as the story is just okay. There are no details on how the inventions were built or how they worked, and the only lesson really to be learned is the need for determination.
Brenda Kahn
The illustrations star in this gentle story about a spunky daughter who is determined to be an inventor in her own right. The Cleonardo-Gianardo-Leonardo connection did cause an eye roll on my part. A bit twee. Still, it's a fun story, fine for read aloud. Although many seem to be touting its STEM connection, I see it but it's not the first picture book I'd choose for that reason.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another: You do you book, like Foxtrot.

The illustrations are very detailed and would definitely capture a class' attention as you read it to them. This could be a fun story to read around Father's Day.

Would be fun to read this with a non-fiction book on Leonardo DaVinci, perhaps during a structures unit.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
The illustrations are far and away the best thing about this book. The story is on the weak side, and I didn't quite understand the "importance" of their inventions. (Granted, even the winning invention didn't seem very big or important.)
Rebecca Saxon
A lovely story of father and daughter inventors. A great book to encourage girls to create and be excited about STEM. The illustrations are beautiful; I can see why Mary GrandPre has won the Caldecott before.
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm not quite sure what Cleo's invention for the contest was, but the whirligig was a big hit. Nice family story.
Annie Pasma
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I especially loved the paintings in this picture book.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Cleonardo and her father enter separate inventions in the town's Grand Festival of Inventions both hoping to impress the other.
Elizabeth Ferry
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Sweet story with beautiful illustrations from same illustrator who did many of the Harry Potter books.
Thanks to a parent volunteer who recommended this to me. Elaborate illustrations.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Read this at the SWON Picture Book Read-In.

Cleonardo has a different way of approaching inventing.
Madison Cole
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Cleo Wren wants to be just like her Dad, an inventor. Her father, Geonardo, and all of the family before him have been inventors. As Geonardo is making a new invention for the festival of inventions Cleo tries to help by giving him ideas. Geonardo does not want her help because he is worried about her getting hurt, so he tells Cleo to stay out of the way. When Cleo leaves, she decides to make something of her own to impress her dad. She finally makes something she thinks is amazing, but ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story was not very satisfying. But the fact is, it was okay. The point of it was good. And beyond that, and most importantly, it was a vehicle for Mary GrandPre's illustrations. And if it is no more than that, that in and of itself is wonderful. In my opinion Mary GrandPre goes from mega-strength to mega-strength. Just when I think she's created the most wonderful illustrations ever, she goes herself one better. The pictures in this book are awesome. They are fabulous. They are enchantment ...more
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Educated at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Mary GrandPre began her career as a conceptual illustrator for local editorial clients. Continually experimenting with media, Mary underwent many artistic changes in her expressive visual form. Her concerns for light, color, drawing, and design came together in evocative, ethereal pastel paintings evolving toward a style she now calls "soft ...more