Renato and the Lion

Barbara DiLorenzo. Viking, $17.99 (44p) ISBN 978-0-451-47641-8
DiLorenzo’s debut follows a Florentine boy who has to leave behind a beloved statue when war breaks out. Renato’s father cleans the statues of Florence; Renato’s favorite is the life-size lion in the Piazza della Signoria. When soldiers march into the city, Renato runs to protect the lion, but he doesn’t have the time or ability to make a brick enclosure for it like the ones being made for other statuary. In a sequence that forms the story’s emotional heart, Renato dreams that the lion carries him home under starry midnight skies: “They walked by the fountain of Neptune, across the Vasari Corridor, over the Ponte Vecchio.” DiLorenzo lavishes attention on Florence’s architectural treasures, and her buildings glow with warmth. Renato and his family sail to the U.S. and settle in New York City; only when Renato becomes a grandfather is he able to return to Florence and see his lion again. DiLorenzo’s story is simultaneously a historical account of a family’s emigration and a dream story about the power of great art. Ages 5–7. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/17/2017
Release date: 06/20/2017
Genre: Children's
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