Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Leonardo and the Flying Boy: A Story About Leonardo da Vinci

Anholt, Laurence (Author/Illustrator)
Barron’s 2007. 36 pages
First published: 2000
ISBN: 9780764138515 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Non-Fiction
Book genre: Biography

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Zoro is an apprentice to the great painter, sculptor, musician and scientist Leonardo da Vinci. He is witness to The Master’s genius, as well as his whims and moments of crazed inspiration. When Salai is taken in, things change. Salai is mischievous and dishonest. While da Vinci is working on the Mona Lisa, Salai breaks into a secret room, steals the flying machine, and forces Zoro to fly it off a cliff. The characters and events are based on history and are brought to life by Anholt’s drawings, as well as by reproductions of da Vinci’s own work.

Many of the illustrations resemble da Vinci’s sketches. One page depicts Zoro sleeping on the steps outside of da Vinci’s studio and is done in the brown pencil crayon texture and shading seen in many of da Vinci’s sketches. Other illustrations are a mixture of sketch and watercolour, and some pages contain actual reproductions of da Vinci’s work, including the Mona Lisa.

The text is action-driven and features many scenes that show da Vinci’s kindness and generosity, such as the incident at the market when he buys all the caged birds: “Leonardo told Zoro to open the cages. Everybody stared. No one could understand. ‘A bird should be free,’ said Leonardo.”

The story recreates the sense of wonder and magic that would have surrounded The Master. “Anything is possible,” he says more than once to his young and faithful apprentice.

  •  Use a RAN chart (Reading and Analyzing Non-fiction texts) and brainstorm what you know about Leonardo da Vinci. Fill in the “Wondering” column.
  •  

    As you read the book, update your RAN chart with new learning and misconceptions. Continue to fill in the “Wondering” column.

  •  

    Leonardo, Zoro and Salai are unique and yet have some characteristics in common. Create a character map with four sections: one for each person and one for what they have in common. What can you conclude?

  •  

    Use teacher-selected resources to research Leonardo’s inventions and show which modern inventions are based on his creative genius. Update your RAN chart with new learning and misconceptions.

  •  

    Brainstorm what you know about Leonardo da Vinci. What questions do you have about this great painter, sculptor, musician and scientist? Use a KWL chart to record the information.

  •  

    Use the information in the story to create character maps for Leonardo, Zoro and Salai.

  •  

    Leonardo had many questions about life which he answered by writing backwards (p. 4). Similarly, in your reader-writer’s notebook, write a few questions and answer them by writing backwards, so they can be read in a mirror.

  •  

    Use teacher-selected resources to find out more about Leonardo’s achievements. As a class, use a multiple intelligence chart to categorize his work. Use the same chart to display your own multi-intelligence interests and achievements.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Visual Arts