Sunday, July 31, 2011

Leonardo da Vinci by Kathleen Krull

There are some things I like about this biography, and some things, or actually one thing, that I don't like. Kathleen Krull is quite a good nonfiction writer. Her language is natural and flows nicely. It almost sounds colloquial, but is formal enough to not be condescending. She writes about interesting stuff, and she gives a balanced view of people (she primarily writes biography) showing their good side and bad side. This biography focuses on da Vinci as a scientist instead of an artist. She spends a lot of time talking about his notebooks and all the amazing things that can be found in them. The thing I didn't like about this biography is that she includes a discussion about da Vinci's sexual orientation. She believes, (as, I believe, many modern scholars do) that da Vinci was gay. Now, that might be an interesting discussion in a biography of da Vinci written for adults, but I just don't think it is appropriate for a book written for children. Some kids might be street wise and world savvy enough to be interested in that little tidbit, but not all children are. I don't think da Vinci's sex life has a huge bearing on his accomplishments as an artist or scientist. He never wrote about it in his notebooks or proclaimed it publicly. What gives a children's biographer the right to do so. (124 p)

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