Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Historical fiction/picture book
What did you like about the book? This picture book is a happy marriage of historical fiction and fantasy, taking the hiding of priceless works of art during World War II in Italy and the love of a little boy of his favorite sculpture and weaving them into a story of the timelessness and importance of art. Truly gorgeous watercolor illustrations, works of art on their own, transport the reader to the 1940’s, a time of war and displacement, and then to the present day, as Renato revisits his Italian homeland and the stone lion of his boyhood fantasy. This story can be appreciated on a number of different levels: historical, artistic and personal, and belongs in most collections.
To whom would you recommend this book? This reminds me of Michelle Barker’s A Year of Borrowed Men, another atmospheric picture book set during World War II.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: June 24, 2017