A secret is at the heart of Canadian author Rick Jacobson’s newest story, The Master’s Apprentice. Young Marco leaves his family to serve as a junior apprentice in Florence, Italy, to the famous but temperamental painter, Michelangelo Buonarroti. It is a tremendous opportunity for Marco. Before leaving, his father, a chemist, cautions him to “keep our secrets secret”. Marco promises. In Florence, he tries his best to please Michelangelo, knowing that he could easily be sent home in disgrace by the artist, whose temper tends to explode at any time for any small reason. Eventually, the inevitable happens and it appears that Marco will lose his position as apprentice … unless he divulges one of his father’s most valued secrets: the recipe to prepare the glorious alizarin crimson paint. What is he to do?
The Master’s Apprentice is a well-written children’s story about art and loyalty. The illustrations by Rick Jacobson and Laura Fernandez are exceptional: the facial expressions capture Marco’s uncertainty, Michelangelo’s anger and the emotions of the other characters perfectly. Jacobson has also written and illustrated The Mona Lisa Caper and Picasso: Soul on Fire for children.
** Recommended for ages 7 to 10 years of age.


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