How many lion sculptures can you find in Venice? Zoe finds fifty-three, but she’s sure there are more! In Zoe Sophia’s Scrapbook: An Adventure in Venice by Claudia Mauner and Elisa Smalley, Zoe Sophia is a nine year old New Yorker who, along with her dog, Mickey, travels to Venice to visit her great aunt. Her adventures are chronicled in Zoe Sophia’s Scrapbook from the time the plane leaves New York until her last night in Venice.
Interspersed with Italian words and phrases, it’s a great introduction to a child’s eye view of Venice. Zoe compares and contrasts the differences (both good and bad) between her home in New York and Venice. She’s very enthusiastic about everything; the vaporetta (boat bus) which makes her feel like a pirate princess, her Aunt’s apartment which contains a Chagall, just like the Met in New York; her first breakfast, cornetti, which are kind of like croissants; and a visit to the Gallerie dell’Accademia where the artist Tiepolo liked purple as much as she does. Over the next few days, her Aunt takes her to the Laboratorio Artigaiano Machere to buy a mask, on a walk over the Rialto bridge, and on a ride in a gondola. After a very full and absolutely amazing few days, she discovers that her dog, Mickey has gotten lost in the shuffle and is missing! Fortunately the gondolier finds him and he is returned safe and sound, along with a new friend, Aïda. Much relieved, Zoe (and Mickey and Aïda) head off to the opera which was fantastico. The next day the tour of Venice is back on and they head to Murano to see the glassblowing (which my son is dying to try). Of course a trip to Venice isn’t complete without a visit to the Piazza San Marco with a quick stop at Caffe Florian’s (open since 1720) for a cup of hot chocolate and a last dinner at Quadri’s before getting ready to leave for New York.
We enjoyed the way everything was relayed rather irreverently by Zoe as she enjoys her European adventure though my son said he would definitely rather explore Venice with us than with a great aunt! The question is, can he find more than 53 lion sculptures?