Focus Group Visits Da Vinci's House

Cindy: The word from France is that the Focus Group loved the visit to Leonardo Da Vinci’s home last week. Here’s the report for those of you interested in traveling vicariously with me:

Lynn:  First we mastered the mysteries of the French washing machine and left our laundry spread over two drying racks on the patio. Then we set off after lunch for Ambois and Clos du Luce, the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci. He lived and worked in this beautiful house the last four years of his life, supported and admired by the French king, thinking, working, dreaming, designing, painting and conversing. The house is gorgeous, complete with authentic furnishings, the garden is as it was and the grounds are wonderful. But even more fun were the displays and models of his inventions and in the grounds are full-sized working replicas of 12 of his inventions. The boys ADORED them of course because they actually worked! They had been constructed by people from IBM from Da Vinci’s drawings. We were there till 6:00! It was a beautiful day and thy boys wanted to see and run everything multiple times. So much fun! I can completely understand why he loved this house so much too. It is sunny,cozy and warm with beautiful views and I’d be very happy to live there too 😉

We stopped in Montrichard, the town next to our village, for dinner and that was so fun too. Not too many tourists here and the boys were a big hit with the staff, especially as they ate everything in sight! Fred and I had the price fix menu and we both chose a fabulous smoked salmon and fresh goat cheese pate, flank steak with a poivre sauce, frites, and finished with caramel tiramisu for me and double chocolate mousse for Fred. the boys had roast chicken, frites and boules of chocolate glacé. We had help with our desserts. I swear the boys have had huge appetites this week but we are going all day – and face it, the food is wonderful!

Cindy: A few years ago I saw an exhibit at our local museum with the Da Vinci reproduction inventions and it was fun to try them out and to watch children manipulate them. I can see why the boys liked this house so much. The book report is that they have just finished Pet Disasters by Claudia Mills and enjoyed that a lot! They’re heading into Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck next. Me? I’m hungry from reading all of these food descriptions and need to go find lunch.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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