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Children's LiteratureIn very simple, straightforward prose, Jose Limon is introduced as a young child surrounded by the sounds, smells, and tastes of Mexico. He was influenced not only by the dancers in the theater where his father worked and by the bullfights he saw, but also by the menace of Civil War. When Limon and his family flee to the United States, he studies hard, loves art and music, and finally leaves his widowed father to pursue an art career in New York. Discouraged, he finds inspiration in dance and finally discovers what he is meant to do. Drawing on his memories as he dances, he becomes world-famous. Exclamations add spice to the narrative, while full-page illustrations are created with colored pencils and watercolors in Colon's typical style of stencil-like shapes, grainy textures with frequent combed scratches, and muted colors. We see the growth of the dancer from a young child. The image of his early performance with outstretched arms and pointing feet against a blood-red wall is particularly effective in stimulating emotions. A note fills in details of the dancer's life. There is also a brief glossary of the Spanish words included and a bibliography. 2005, A Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ages 5 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz