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|Renato and the lion|
Author: DiLorenzo, Barbara
Combining real history and a bit of magic, a story about WWII, the protection of priceless artwork, and how one boy immigrates with his family from Italy to America.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.60
Points: .5 Quiz: 190115
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 3.30
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 71792
Kirkus Reviews (04/15/17)
School Library Journal (05/01/17)
Booklist (+) (05/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2017 PreS-Gr 2—Renato's father repairs sculptures during World War II, so it is not surprising that the boy has a favorite piece in his Florentine neighborhood: the Medici lion in the Piazza della Signoria. When the two pass the exterior version of Michelangelo's David—and the child sees an enormous brick dome instead—his father points to soldiers, explaining the need for protective measures. Concerned about his stone lion, Renato hastens to build his own brick enclosure. He falls asleep on the beast, dreaming that they explore the city together. Eventually, Renato and his family board a boat for America and a new life. As a grandfather, Renato is prompted to relay his story to his granddaughter while passing the New York Public Library lions; the two visit Florence to view his old friend. DiLorenzo clearly has a passion for Italy. Acknowledgements and an author's note explain the extent of her vetting and research. The writing is peppered with awkwardness and repetition: "He loved the people there. And the food there. But he especially loved the art there." Many of the soft-focus watercolors are lovely—the ride across the Ponte Vecchio and various perspectives of the Duomo—but some of the lion's expressions and postures are less successful. Driven by the notion of safeguarding art during military conflict, this debut portrays a wartime reality that is not commonly addressed. VERDICT A special book and additional purchase that is best shared one-on-one.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 05/01/2017 *Starred Review* Young Renato enjoys living in Florence, Italy, where his father works as a museum guard and beautiful art abounds. But trouble is near (soldiers march in the streets, and military planes streak across the sky), and Renato learns that his father has been erecting barriers around valuable sculptures to protect them from anticipated bombings. Alarmed that his own favorite statue might be destroyed, Renato begins building a brick wall around the stone lion in the Piazza della Signoria. He’s interrupted by soldiers, falls asleep in hiding, and awakens to a magical ride through the city on the lion’s back, just before he and his family depart for America. Although fiction, this story is filled with true details. Italians did protect their artistic treasures in the days before WWII, and the USAT Henry Gibbons, which here transports Renato to America, made a similar journey in 1943. DiLorenzo’s striking watercolors pay homage to Florence (both artistically and architecturally) while also depicting Renato’s innocence about the coming hostilities. Particularly appealing are the endpapers (depicting a city overview) and the contemporary scenes that close the story. Appended with information detailing the author’s research, this love letter to Florence should spur diverse conversations, from art to history to the plight of refugees. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.