Funny Machines for George the Sheep: A Children's Book Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci

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9783791371665: Funny Machines for George the Sheep: A Children's Book Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci

This delightful introduction to the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci teaches young readers about the painstaking but rewarding art of design and discovery. George the sheep is happy living outside in his meadow except for one thing: when it rains, he shrinks to the size of a mouse; when the sun comes out he grows enormous. Befuddled, his owner Leon sets out to find a way to shelter George from the rain. A huge set of bat wings to dry his fur? A wheeled chariot to keep out the wet? Finally he alights on the perfect solution—a large umbrella. But when the wind plays havoc with this contraption Leon must put pencil to paper once again to come up with a solution. Through careful measuring, sketching, and a truly indefatigable spirit, Leon, like his fifteenth-century namesake, solves the kinds of problems that have challenged inventors throughout history. Cleverly invoking the mechanical genius of Leonardo da Vinci, this delightful children’s book explores the art of invention through illustrations and an entertaining story.

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From School Library Journal:

K-Gr 3—George, a sheep, has a rather unusual problem. Every time he gets wet, he shrinks to the size of a mouse. Leo, his shepherd, helps out by creating different inventions and concepts to help him stay dry, like a circular house on wheels to protect him from the rain and giant wings to help dry his back; readers learn later that these creations were actually designs for Leonardo da Vinci's army tank and ornithopter. Leo finally decides on a pyramidlike umbrella, which was actually da Vinci's concept for a parachute, to shield George from the rain. However, this only causes more problems, and Leo must keep coming up with ideas to help out his friend. Although the story ends abruptly, it does introduce ideas of what inventors or engineers do and how they must try out different prototypes before creating a useful product. The book concludes with a short biography of da Vinci as well as photographs and descriptions of the real machines used in the book. This is a good introduction to the artist's work, and its oversize illustrations and use of invention make it great for a STEAM-powered storytime.—Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI

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