Chilly da Vinci

J. Rutland. NorthSouth, $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4283-0
Rutland begins this maker story on Vinci, an improbably named glacier, where Chilly the penguin invents machines very much like his intellectual forebear Leonardo. This subjects him to the scorn of a penguin named Vinnie. “I told you so,” Vinnie mutters as Chilly’s prototype flying machine, the Good Bird, cracks the ice, stranding Chilly, Vinnie, and four more penguins on an ice floe being circled by a hungry orca. Gulls coasting effortlessly on the wind inspire Chilly to build an improved machine so he can wing the otherwise flightless flock to safety. Sepia pages represent Chilly’s notes and drawings (echoing the great Italian artist’s), while polar-hued spreads record what happens when Chilly actually builds and tests his contraptions. Rutland’s most important message—“Great inventors never give up”—is often obscured by thrown-in jokes (“I hope it’s not my last supper”) and some plot holes; the source of all the machine parts, for example, is never shown. An author’s note about the human da Vinci and his early failures provides more straightforward encouragement to young inventors. Ages 4–8. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/15/2018
Release date: 12/04/2018
Genre: Children's
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