Julio's Magic

Overview

Julio and his friend, master carver Iluminado, find their ideas in the forest, where dragons, lizards, and angels hide in the wood of every twisted branch.

At home, Julio can't wait to make sculptures for the annual wood-carving contest. But Iluminado, whose eyesight is failing him, is too humble to enter. When Julio opens his heart to help his friend, he learns that winning is not nearly as important as giving.

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Overview

Julio and his friend, master carver Iluminado, find their ideas in the forest, where dragons, lizards, and angels hide in the wood of every twisted branch.

At home, Julio can't wait to make sculptures for the annual wood-carving contest. But Iluminado, whose eyesight is failing him, is too humble to enter. When Julio opens his heart to help his friend, he learns that winning is not nearly as important as giving.

Both the author and illustrator of Julio's Magic have traveled extensively in Mexico. Now they have translated the deep admiration they feel for the Mexican artisans they've met into a truly magical book which reminds us that inspiration, creativity, and friendship can be found everywhere.

A young artist discovers the power of friendship when he helps his mentor win a prestigious wood-carving contest.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Young Julio is eager to go to the mountains with his teacher and master carver, Iluminado, to find just the right piece of wood to carve. He is hoping to win the annual national prize for the best carving. Iluminado has never entered the contest, but this year he really needs the money. Julio finds his wood and carves a jungle which everyone says is his best work yet. Iluminado has carved wonderful musicians, but his failing eyesight makes painting them difficult. Julio helps him and they send the carvings off to the contest. Iluminado is very happy when he wins. Only Julio, and the readers, know that he has not sent his carvings in. They remain under his bed, perhaps until next year. This year he wanted Iluminado to win. Grifalconi creates a form of visual magic through her process of combining modified photographic collage and painting. Although she depicts her characters and settings naturalistically, there is an intriguing interplay between the few unmanipulated color photographs and the impressionistic fields, plants, and buildings involving us in the "different beauties" of her imagination. The few Spanish words are understandable in context, adding flavor to this real picture of the life of wood-carvers in the Oaxaca area today and of a youngster's heart-warming sacrifice. 2005, HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 4 to 9.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
Set in a small village of wood carvers in southern Mexico, this gentle tale celebrates artistic creation, community and kindness. Julio, a young boy, has learned the art of wood-carving from Iluminado, and learned from him how to find wood that talks and even sings, telling what it wants to be. This year Julio would like to enter the carving contest in which the winner receives a substantial prize. His mother tells him his carvings are the best he's ever done, and even the other carvers urge him to enter. But Julio sees that times are hard for Iluminado, whose eyesight is fading. His crops have not done well, and he will have little to eat over the winter. Instead of entering his own carvings in the contest, Julio helps Iluminado get his ready, enabling him to win. For Julio, there will be next year. Grifalconi's collages mingling manipulated photographs and painted surfaces have magic of their own, establishing a strong sense of place with a touch of the surreal. (Picture book. 4-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060290047
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Edition description: Ages 4-9
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.32 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Dorros learned Spanish while traveling and living in Latin America and helped teach his son, Alex, the language. He is the author of many books for children, which have received acclaim such as the Orbis Pictus, the Parents' Choice, and the Pura Belpré Honor Awards. Arthur lives in Seattle, Washington.

Ann Grifalconi illustrated patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam by Walter Dean Myers, winner of the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. She is the author-illustrator of the Caldecott Honor book The Village of Round and Square Houses and Tiny's Hat. Ms. Grifalconi lives in New York City.

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