© Copyright – Cover image courtesy of Charlesbridge Publishing
- Targeted Audience: Lower & Upper Elementary (Ages 6 -9)
- Genre: Picture Book-Biography
- Author: Jane Sutcliffe
- Illustrator: John Shelley
- Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing
- Publication Date: April 8, 2014
- Binding: Highest Quality Hard Cover
- Dimensions: 9″ X 11.25″
- Printing: Full color
- Length: 32 Pages
- Retail: $16.95
- ISBN: 978-1580892957
Note: This title will not be published until April, but you can reserve your copy of Stone Giant today.
40 Years with a Giant Slab of Marble
Stone Giant is the picture book story of how David, one of the world’s most famous marble statues, came to be. During the Renaissance era of the late fifteenth century, the city of Florence acquired an enormous slab of marble they hoped would be carved into a statue of David to represent the city in all its glory. Several different artists worked on the project, but they either quit or died, leaving behind a slab with chisels and holes, laying unfinished in the yard of the city’s cathedral. Even da Vinci was uninterested in trying to salvage what was left of that slab. Years later, along came Michelangelo who looked at the weathered marble, and unlike all the other artists saw an image of David in that giant slab that the city could be proud of. Michelangelo worked day and night for four years, chiseling away at the stone under the shed he built around it. And when he was finished in 1504, his masterpiece was celebrated not only by people of Florence, but all over the world.
Engaging Storytelling with Beautiful Illustrations
© Copyright – Inside image courtesy of Charlesbridge Publishing
Author Jane Sutcliffe is a master at biographical storytelling for young readers. She takes a subject commonly studied by high school and college students and breaks it down into an educational and inspiring story ideal for a picture book audience. In Stone Giant her words flow from page to page and readers will hang on to every sentiment. Combine her storytelling prowess with illustrator John Shelley’s incredible artwork. The full color printing using a matte finish gives the illustrations an old world charm – just what you’d expect to see artwork to be like in Michelangelo’s Renaissance era. He created artistic borders and detailed backgrounds that are really impressive. Just take a look at the way he paints walls of bricks! What’s most remarkable are his depictions of David himself from all angles and with such detail.
What This Book Teaches
The youngest readers will get perhaps their first lesson in art history when reading Stone Giant. They will learn about geography, the Renaissance era and a bit about the life of Michelangelo and just how long it takes to create and physically relocate an artistic masterpiece that is in many ways larger than life. With the Author’s Note in the back of the book, they will also discover how may times precious David has been in need of repair. What I love most about this story is the subtle message that just when it appears that there is no solution to a very big problem, there’s always an innovative person who comes along to turn that problem into a great success story.
Image of David in the Public Domain
About the Author
About the Illustrator
John Shelley studied at the Bournville School of Art and Manchester Polytechnic. He started his art career as a freelance illustrator in London, but his interest in Ukiyo-e woodblock prints led him to Tokyo in 1987, where he lived for 21 years working as a commercial illustrator and children’s book illustrator. Following his first major picture book The Secret in the Matchbox (1989 Mother Goose Award runner-up), his children’s illustrations have been published in the UK, USA, Europe, Japan and the Far East. As an author his own published stories include Hoppy’s New House (Fukuinkan Shoten) and The House of the World (Benesse).
- Read the Author’s Note in the back of the book.
- Learn more about David in the bible.
- Browse the web to earn more details about the life and work of the artist.
- Find Florence on a map of the world.
- Look at photographs of the artists work in the Sistine Chapel.
I highly recommend you also buy Chester Nimitz and the Sea. another great biography by Jane Sutcliffe.