Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Stone Giant: Michelangelo’s David and How He Came to Be

Sutcliffe, Jane (Author)
Shelley, John (Illustrator)
Charlesbridge 2014. 32 pages
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9781580892957 (hardcover)
9781607347347 (e-book)
Original language: English
Dewey: 730
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting

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:

Michelangelo’s David is one of the greatest masterpieces of sculpture and this book tells the story of its conception and creation. It recounts how numerous artists tried, and failed, to work the 18-foot block of marble, until Michelangelo took on the colossal task. The citizens of Florence wanted the statue to represent how even their small city could defeat larger and stronger foes, as David had vanquished the giant in the bible story. And Michelangelo delivered. He toiled away in private for three years, until he had transformed the white stone into his revolutionary interpretation of the biblical character.

This non-fiction book reads like a story, using description to convey the arduous work (“In summer the stone dust mingled with the sweat on his skin and made a kind of mud”) or the moment when he first imagined the final product inside the rock: “It was as plain as if the shepherd boy were right there before him.”

Attractively framed blocks of text sit among soft sketches that bring Renaissance Florence to life by including landmarks such as the Duomo and the terra cotta roofs of buildings. Townsfolk are dressed in the berets, tunics and hose of the period.

This story of artistic passion and vision is also about perseverance and dedication. Michelangelo faced many challenges, but was driven to create something bigger than himself. The artist in us all will be inspired by both of these two giants—one marble, one man.

  •  Review the story of David and Goliath. From the story, draw your own vision of David.
  •  

    Discuss how famous works of art sometimes feature nudity. How can we handle our embarrassment or discomfort? Brainstorm possible strategies (look away, take a deep breath, pretend to put on “art appreciation glasses,” etc.).

  •  As you read, discuss the significance of the details and design choices in the illustrations.
  •  Use a graphic organizer to record the traits of Michelangelo, based on his actions in the book.
  •  The statue of David was commissioned to represent the strength of the people of Florence. If you were going to create a statue to represent your school, what would it be and why?
  •  Review the story of David and Goliath. From the story, draw your own vision of David.
  •  

    Discuss how famous works of art sometimes feature nudity. How can we handle our embarrassment or discomfort? Brainstorm possible strategies (look away, take a deep breath, pretend to put on “art appreciation glasses,” etc.).

  •  

    On a picture walk, discuss the setting, era, apparel, instruments used and artwork itself.

  •  

    Go to the page where the statue is hoisted on the pedestal. Explore the simple machine technology that was used in 1504 to achieve such a feat. Make a poster of one of the simple machines used and explain how it works.

  •  Look at teacher-selected photos of well-known and lesser known Michelangelo sculptures. What do you know about this artist? These sculptures? David?
  •  

    How do you imagine Michelangelo’s working environment? What tools might he have used? Write five other “w” questions that come to mind before reading the book.

  •  Use a graphic organizer to record the traits of Michelangelo, based on his actions in the book.
  •  With a partner, write a proposal to your town mayor for the creation of a statue that would best represent your community. What would it be and where would you have it displayed?
  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To communicate appropriately
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Social Sciences
  • Visual Arts