Title: The ApprenticeThe Apprentice
Author: Pilar Molina Llorente
Pages: 101
Recommended Ages: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★★

Okay, I’ve seen this book on Goodreads FOREVER, and have wanted to find a copy for ALMOST FOREVER. A few weeks back, I found it and paid three cents for it. :) #itpaystowait

The Story.

Arduino di Emilio di Antonio Neri is the son of a tailor. His father is the son of a tailor. His grandfather is the son of a tailor. He is from a family of tailors, and it is the expectation of all that he will be a tailor, too. Why, already his two older brothers are at work with their needles and thread, sewing garments for the gentry of the city – why should not Arduino be content with this as well?

But Arduino’s blood is filled with a love of art. He dreams of one day being a great artist. But in order to become recognized, he must study with a maestro artist – and to do that, he must win his father’s consent. Finally, his father agrees to pay for his apprenticeship with a maestro – one Cosimo di Forli – but only on probabtion. If Maestro di Forli reports that Arduino is a slacker, his one chance will be gone.

Arduino works hard to please his master, but he soon discovers that not all is as it seems with Maestro di Forli. As Arduino begins to uncover di Forli’s abusive treatment of his apprentices, can he find a way to yet stay on Maestro’s side? Or will he be sent home for insubordination?

Discussion.

If you couldn’t already tell, The Apprentice is set during the Renaissance in Florence, Italy. Arduino, a talented boy, yearns for a life beyond that which is offered him, and works hard to earn his chance at an artist’s life. His father finally agrees, but it is a temporary allowance – it is up to Arduino’s performance and his fitful master’s temper to determine what his lot will be.

This topic – the lot of one’s life, the degree to which one can influence it, and the degree of contentment one should have in the interim – is a theme of the story. Several people sighingly wish that their lives were better or different, but few actually work towards this end. Several women, too, express their desire to be more influential in their own decision-making.

There are a few Catholic references – the sign of the cross, a painting of the Virgin, etc. – but nothing too serious. Of more concern are the brief snippets of stories told by Melania, the maid, to the young apprentices, concerning ghosts and goblins.

 ‘Mother of God’ and ‘my God’ are both used once.

Conclusion. A good story for artists and non-artists alike!

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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