Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Nonfiction Painting

The Master's Apprentice

illustrated by Rick Jacobson & Laura Fernandez

Initial publish date
Mar 2008
Painting, Art, History
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2008
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 8
  • Grade: k to 3


When Marco is sent into apprenticeship with the young master, Michelangelo Buonarroti, much rides on his success. His father has worked very hard as a chemist so that Marco can have a better life, and the boy simply cannot let his family down. Armed with good advice, but more importantly, secret color formulas that his father has taught him, the boy has a good chance at success.

But then he meets the jealous senior apprentice Ridolfo, and before Marco knows it, he has been tricked into looking like a fool. Time and again, the older boy trips him up, until Marco is certain he will be sent home in disgrace.

When Michelangelo is summoned to Rome by the pope himself, he can only take one apprentice. Ridolfo has no intention of being left behind, but Marco knows the formula for a color Michelangelo can make good use of. When the master not only likes the gift, but demands the formula, Marco is trapped between wanting to go to Rome and betraying his father’s instruction to keep their secrets secret.

In bringing this story to life, Rick Jacobson and Laura Fernandez show a little-known side of the richest artistic era in the history of the world and one of the greatest geniuses of all time.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Award-winning illustrator Laura Fernandez was born in Spain, and immigrated to Canada as a young child. With Rick Jacobson she is co-owner of Jacobson Fernandez Illustration and Design Inc. The illustration team has won many awards for their work in advertising and publishing, including the Ruth Schwartz Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, and numerous national and international awards. Laura Fernandez and Rick Jacobson have illustrated over seventeen published children’s books. Laura Fernandez is also a songwriter, performer, and recording artist as well as a New York International Independent Music Festival Award-winner. She resides in Toronto, with her family.

Rick Jacobson has authored three children’s books, and with Laura Fernandez, has illustrated seventeen children’s books. Together they have won awards for their work in advertising and publishing including the Ruth Schwartz Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award and numerous national and international awards including the Toronto Art Directors’ Awards, Communication Arts Magazine’s Award of Excellence, American Illustration Award of Excellence, and the New York Art Directors’ Award of Excellence. He has been featured in Smithsonian magazine and in The Artist’s Magazine. His commissioned portraits include Margaret Atwood, Robertson Davies, Christopher Ondaatje, and David Thomson. He is currently working on a show of his landscape paintings. He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his family.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for the Master's Apprentice:
The Master’s Apprentice is an enjoyable book. Readers will be interested to gain some insight into what it might have been like to serve as an apprentice to one of the most esteemed artists the world has known. Recommended.” — Canadian Review of Materials
Praise for The Mona Lisa Caper:
“… Jacobson’s dense text brims with suspenseful details … and
[the] beautifully drafted watercolors convey a sense of excitement. Jacobson … delights in the events [of his story], and readers will, too.” — Publishers Weekly

Praise for Picasso:
“Those who want to know more about Picasso, Cubism or both need only turn to Picasso.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“Written in simple, clear language, it effortlessly leads readers through the life of the artist. This eloquent tribute will serve as an introduction to Picasso and to an artist’s inspirations.” — School Library Journal

Librarian Reviews

The Master’s Apprentice

Marco is sent into apprenticeship with Michaelangelo, and much rides on his success. When Ridolfo, a jealous senior apprentice, tricks Marco into upsetting Michaelangelo several times, Marco suddenly realizes what he has to do to avoid being sent home.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.

Other titles by Rick Jacobson

Other titles by Laura Fernandez

Related lists