Stanley, Diane. 1996. LEONARDO DA VINCI. New York: Morrow Junior Books. ISBN: 0-688-16155-3.
Diane Stanley's well-researched, complete biography of Leonardo Da Vinci is wonderfully done. She blends gripping facts about the works that he did with fascinating tidbits about his personality. With her target audience in mind, she sensitively discloses the fact that he is born to a woman and man out of wedlock. She also includes short quotations from Da Vinci, such as how he describes himself: "man without education", providing compelling details.
She presents a well-rounded view of Da Vinci. He is not glorified or puffed up in this book. Rather, a realistic, balanced study is presented. On one side, he is given credit for his genius. On the other side, the book displays his tendency to quit a project when he grew uninterested or discouraged. She brings out the humanness of the man through showing his competitive, almost jealous nature, specifically towards a fellow famous artist of the Renaissance, Michelangelo.
The author's accuracy is not questioned when one reads the extensive bibliography. A pronunciation guide is a helpful inclusion in the front of the book. The illustrations richly complement the period within which the man lived, adding an additional dimension to the story of Da Vincis life. She includes actual drawings from Da Vinci's notebooks on the text pages. These, in and of themselves, show the brilliance of the man. This book has many aspects of what makes a good biography; authenticity, a balanced view of the man, and the authors viewpoint appears to be unbiased.