El Chino

El Chino

2.5 2
by Allen Say
     
 

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A true story of Billy Wong, the first Chinese bullfighter. "Say's subtle watercolor shadings and the details in the fine lines of these illustrations capture the power and the sensitivity of this story of a man who learns that to become someone beyond his current self, he must first truly be himself." -- School Library Journal

Overview

A true story of Billy Wong, the first Chinese bullfighter. "Say's subtle watercolor shadings and the details in the fine lines of these illustrations capture the power and the sensitivity of this story of a man who learns that to become someone beyond his current self, he must first truly be himself." -- School Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Caldecott Honor recipient Say ( The Boy of the Three-Year Nap ) relates the stirring true story of Arizona-born Billy Wong, the first-ever Chinese bullfighter. As Billy grows up, his father tells him, over and over again, ``In America you can be anything you want to be.'' This advice stands Billy in good stead as he faces one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after another on his triumphant way to the ring (``Only the Spaniards can become true matadors,'' everyone informs him). Say's text renders Billy's complex story with simplicity and grace, presenting Billy as an endearing, determined hero; Say's watercolors are luminous, filled with harmonious detail. The first several pages of the book are reproduced in sepia tones, but when Billy attends his first bullfight, the pictures burst into full color--an arresting touch that vividly underscores the bullfight's profound impact on Billy's imagination. Ages 7-13. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Billy Wong dreamed of becoming a great athlete. In America, you can be anything you want to be. Too short for professional basketball, his practical nature persuaded him to become an engineer. On a trip to Spain he saw his first bullfight and felt the tug of destiny. His fine coordination and fierce determination hastened his training. Soon everyone was calling him 'El Chino.' This is the true story of the first Chinese matador, lovingly depicted by Say. The early pictures are painted in sepia, progress to black and white and finally explode into brilliant color as Wong's dreams are realized.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-- A picture-book biography of the first Chinese matador. On his first vacation to Europe, Billy Wong saw a Spanish bullfight and, marvelling at the athletic prowess of the matador, realized that even a man shorter than he might enter the sport. So he stayed in Spain and went to bullfighting school, but after two years passed without fighting a single cow, Billy realized that a Chinese matador might stand out in the crowd of aspiring bullfighters--as indeed he did. After his first success as El Chino --The Chinese--in his native costume, Billy receivedan offer to become a real matador. The large, bordered illustrations in the first part of the book describe Billy's early life in Arizona, and are suggestive of old sepia photographs; these have that sense of being posed in that way that both conceals and reveals the life of the subjects. When he attends the bullfight in Spain, however, the illustrations take on color and action. Say's subtle watercolor shadings and the details in the fine lines of these illustrations capture the power and the sensitivity of this story of a man who learns that to become someone beyond his current self, he must first truly be himself. A book that's lovely to look at, but one that is likely to have limited appeal to children because of the slow, uneventful beginning. --Kay E. Vandergrift, School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
From the Publisher

"Say's subtle watercolor shadings and the details in the fine lines of these illustrations capture the power and the sensitivity of this story of a man who learns that to become someone beyond his current self, he must first truly be himself." School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780780763616
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/28/1996
Pages:
29
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Say's subtle watercolor shadings and the details in the fine lines of these illustrations capture the power and the sensitivity of this story of a man who learns that to become someone beyond his current self, he must first truly be himself." School Library Journal

Meet the Author

Allen Say was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937. He dreamed of becoming a cartoonist from the age of six, and, at age twelve, apprenticed himself to his favorite cartoonist, Noro Shinpei. For the next four years, Say learned to draw and paint under the direction of Noro, who has remained Say's mentor. Say illustrated his first children's book -- published in 1972 -- in a photo studio between shooting assignments. For years, Say continued writing and illustrating children's books on a part-time basis. But in 1987, while illustrating THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (Caldecott Honor Medal), he recaptured the joy he had known as a boy working in his master's studio. It was then that Say decided to make a full commitment to doing what he loves best: writing and illustrating children's books. Since then, he has written and illustrated many books, including TREE OF CRANES and GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal. He is a full-time writer and illustrator living in Portland, Oregon.

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El Chino 2.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does anybody know about Allen Say.... His work is featured in textbooks across the U.S. and "El Chino" lives up to those. The ending is abrupt, but information on Bill Wong is limited and the message it presents is accomplished by then. It is a favorite among the many classrooms I read it to and obviously resonates with the many young Chinese American students we have in the area.  It is more action verb oriented as well which allows for a vivid oral presentation of a story if one dost attempt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does anyone know about allen say?