Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Mary GrandPré
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Geonardo is an inventor like his parents and his ancestors before him. He lives in a house on a hill with his father and his daughter, Cleonardo Wren. Cleonardo is always in her father’s workshop helping him. As Geonardo is preparing for the town’s festival of inventions, Cleo Wren helps her father by handing him all sorts of sticky vines and treasures from the forest to help with his invention. When her “helping” seems unneeded, Cleo Wren decides to make her own workshop and inventions. When it comes time for the festival, Geonardo takes his invention and Cleo Wren takes hers. As Geonardo shows his invention at the festival, something goes terribly wrong! Thankfully, Cleo Wren is there to save the day. Father and daughter realize that they are a perfect team.
The most striking aspect of this book is the illustrations. The book is illustrated by Mary GrandPré, the illustrator of the original Harry Potter novels and a Caldecott Honor Winner. The pictures are intricate, whimsical, and uplifting. The story is a touching father-daughter tale that discusses the common situation of children trying to help, but who end up feeling like they are in the way. However, both father and daughter learn that they can help each other. Geonardo humbles himself to ask his daughter to teach him something new that will improve his inventions. This book also touches on the theme that little people can use their creativity to do big things when they put their mind to it. Another empowering aspect of the story is that it is about a girl who is an inventor, which goes against the gender stereotype that boys are the engineers and inventors. This book that will find it’s place among your very favorite to read to your children.