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The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story: A Graphic Novel

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The astonishing story of martial arts legend Bruce Lee . . . told in spectacular graphic form. Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940 - in both the hour and the year of the dragon. Almost immediately, he was plunged into conflict: as a child in Hong Kong as it was invaded and occupied by the Japanese; as the object of discrimination and bullying; and as a teenager grapplin The astonishing story of martial arts legend Bruce Lee . . . told in spectacular graphic form. Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940 - in both the hour and the year of the dragon. Almost immediately, he was plunged into conflict: as a child in Hong Kong as it was invaded and occupied by the Japanese; as the object of discrimination and bullying; and as a teenager grappling against the influence of gangs. As the world knows, Lee found his salvation and calling through kung fu - first as a student, then as a teacher, and finally as a global star. The Boy Who Became a Dragon tells his story in brilliant comic form.


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The astonishing story of martial arts legend Bruce Lee . . . told in spectacular graphic form. Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940 - in both the hour and the year of the dragon. Almost immediately, he was plunged into conflict: as a child in Hong Kong as it was invaded and occupied by the Japanese; as the object of discrimination and bullying; and as a teenager grapplin The astonishing story of martial arts legend Bruce Lee . . . told in spectacular graphic form. Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940 - in both the hour and the year of the dragon. Almost immediately, he was plunged into conflict: as a child in Hong Kong as it was invaded and occupied by the Japanese; as the object of discrimination and bullying; and as a teenager grappling against the influence of gangs. As the world knows, Lee found his salvation and calling through kung fu - first as a student, then as a teacher, and finally as a global star. The Boy Who Became a Dragon tells his story in brilliant comic form.

30 review for The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story: A Graphic Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    "Who was Bruce Lee? Even though he only made five movies as an adult, he became a legend. He was a student and a teacher. Chinese and American. A fighter and a friend." -- pages 11-17 A graphic novel for the YA set, The Boy Who Became a Dragon was ultimately too simplified, and took liberties with the biographical elements to be more of an 'inspired by the life of'-type of story. Said intended audience should just wait a few years and instead tackle Matthew Polly's outstanding Bruce Lee: A Life b "Who was Bruce Lee? Even though he only made five movies as an adult, he became a legend. He was a student and a teacher. Chinese and American. A fighter and a friend." -- pages 11-17 A graphic novel for the YA set, The Boy Who Became a Dragon was ultimately too simplified, and took liberties with the biographical elements to be more of an 'inspired by the life of'-type of story. Said intended audience should just wait a few years and instead tackle Matthew Polly's outstanding Bruce Lee: A Life bio from 2018 for a complete and well-rounded account of the actor / martial artist's life. Perhaps it's an unfair comparison, but even with illustrations this book lacked energy - something the iconic subject matter would never be accused of - and was undistinguished in its style.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    By the author’s own admission, quite a bit of creative license was deployed in this fictionalized biography of Bruce Lee. I liked that the book focused on his journey as a martial artist, as well as the historical context and conflict in which Bruce grew up, but there were characters who seemed like they might be important, but then we’re not explained. Which events are real and which are made up? That always frustrates me with books like this, especially when they are billed as biography.

  3. 5 out of 5

    John of Canada

    3.5 stars.I've always been a martial arts junkie. 3.5 stars.I've always been a martial arts junkie.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    This graphic novel biography is stunning both in the arrangement of artwork as well as the story itself that spans Bruce Lee's entire life. There are historical elements to the war and what happened to Lee's family as that was raging, his life in Hong Kong versus his life in the United States, and his acting career as well as his martial arts skills. Ironically it focuses more on the whole picture than on any one particular element of his life (which for many would focus solely on his crazy skil This graphic novel biography is stunning both in the arrangement of artwork as well as the story itself that spans Bruce Lee's entire life. There are historical elements to the war and what happened to Lee's family as that was raging, his life in Hong Kong versus his life in the United States, and his acting career as well as his martial arts skills. Ironically it focuses more on the whole picture than on any one particular element of his life (which for many would focus solely on his crazy skills, which in the book are just part and parcel of his life and something he worked hard for), while also mentioning the discrimination of Asians in the movies though Lee was a movie star in his native country before ever being one in the United States. His tragic death ends the book abruptly which is apt considering he died so young and so suddenly (an allergic reaction to over the counter medication while filming). He lived a full life. Left lots of quotable quotes. Impressed people with his drive and skills as well as his heart while weaving in culture, notably being born under the Dragon.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I couldn't disagree more with some of the negative reviews. Key point: this is meant for 8-12 year It's meant to convey some details about Bruce Lee in a fun and adventuress fashion. It's not any more inaccurate than movies about him, wherein taking artistic liberty to convey a more appealing story is part of the business. It's a comic book for goodness sake! You don't chose a children's comic book if you want a riveting and accurate depiction of the life of Bruce Less who, yes, faced racism, an I couldn't disagree more with some of the negative reviews. Key point: this is meant for 8-12 year It's meant to convey some details about Bruce Lee in a fun and adventuress fashion. It's not any more inaccurate than movies about him, wherein taking artistic liberty to convey a more appealing story is part of the business. It's a comic book for goodness sake! You don't chose a children's comic book if you want a riveting and accurate depiction of the life of Bruce Less who, yes, faced racism, and was also not a faithful husband. But, those are deep themes that are not particularly appropriate when trying to inspire a young child to find the fun in reading and motivate them to read further. If you are interested in a child's review (versus the adults one listed in here) my seven year old loved this book. My daughter, who loves the Dogman series, read this book in one day. I was a little worried that this book might be above her reading capability but when I opened the book, it contained comic images and writing similar to Dogman. Sure enough, my daughter devoured it and kept quoting interesting facts and tidbits she gleaned from it concerning the life of Bruce Lee. It was a fun and educational read, however inaccurate and edited! As a parent, I highly recommend this book to children who enjoyed the Dogman series. It does a lot to encourage children to read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mamatufy

    Buy this! An excellent guide to life of Bruce Lee. My middle school kiddos are going to love it. The art is gorgeous.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ms Warner

    I’m determined to start writing reviews again for the books I read. I didn’t do it last year and now I can hardly remember them. It really does help them stick when I do! So this is the second book I’ve read for the year and it was awesome! It’s a graphic novel detailing Bruce Lee’s short but incredibly action packed life. The graphics are just stunning - the colours are vivid and it’s a really easy to follow graphic novel which means that the layout doesn’t detract from the story which I find som I’m determined to start writing reviews again for the books I read. I didn’t do it last year and now I can hardly remember them. It really does help them stick when I do! So this is the second book I’ve read for the year and it was awesome! It’s a graphic novel detailing Bruce Lee’s short but incredibly action packed life. The graphics are just stunning - the colours are vivid and it’s a really easy to follow graphic novel which means that the layout doesn’t detract from the story which I find sometimes happens. I really knew nothing about Bruce Lee but man was he a go-getter! I also didn’t know he died so young. I vividly remember his son Brandon Lee dying on the set of The Crow in the early 90s. A family marred by tragedy. I now want to nestle in and watch some of his movies. Highly recommend for graphic novel fans, movie buffs and martial arts fans!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    The art in this is fantastic, and I liked the way the zodiac creatures were tucked into the real life details. I picked this up because we've been booktalking non-fiction for our schools, and I didn't realize it was a graphic novel until I sat down to read it. I'd definitely recommend it for any kids doing a project where they need to read a biography, but I found it a little sparse on detail as an adult reader. The art in this is fantastic, and I liked the way the zodiac creatures were tucked into the real life details. I picked this up because we've been booktalking non-fiction for our schools, and I didn't realize it was a graphic novel until I sat down to read it. I'd definitely recommend it for any kids doing a project where they need to read a biography, but I found it a little sparse on detail as an adult reader.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy Freeman

    A DELICIOUS graphic novel!! Read it in one sitting & I’ve already recommended it to a bunch of kids who contact me for summer reads. I didn’t know Bruce Lee’s story, just the details my dad shared with my about Bruce’s life. This book was very enjoyable and kept me entertained both with the storytelling and the gorgeous artwork.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Merissa Jones

    I was looking for graphic novel memoirs for a unit I was doing with my 8th graders. I was sad to learn that parts of this biography a fictionalized. Although parts were not true this was a good story about difficulties that helped shape Bruce Lee.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laryssa

    I think if you're going gloss over, fictionalize, and imagine parts of Lee's life in what looks like a graphic biography for kids, you should mention that at the beginning and not at then end in an author's note. I think if you're going gloss over, fictionalize, and imagine parts of Lee's life in what looks like a graphic biography for kids, you should mention that at the beginning and not at then end in an author's note.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Great introduction to Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee. Great for Teens. Fine for as young as middle school, if they have an interest.

  13. 4 out of 5

    TheNextGenLibrarian

    I loved learning more about Bruce Lee and the panels and artwork were awesome. Very easy to follow along with.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Huh. I was disappointed by this one for one big reason: it completely glossed over, to the point of omission, the incredible racism Lee encountered in America, constantly outperforming others but never cast as a lead because he was Asian. His wife caught flak for their interracial marriage, as well. I’m flummoxed as to why these weren’t included. It’s such an important part of his story, and the story of the US. I learned more than I ever have about Bruce’s childhood, which was interesting at fi Huh. I was disappointed by this one for one big reason: it completely glossed over, to the point of omission, the incredible racism Lee encountered in America, constantly outperforming others but never cast as a lead because he was Asian. His wife caught flak for their interracial marriage, as well. I’m flummoxed as to why these weren’t included. It’s such an important part of his story, and the story of the US. I learned more than I ever have about Bruce’s childhood, which was interesting at first, but I kept wondering when Di Bartolo was going to get to his adulthood as the page count dwindled. I’ll buy this book for my library, but it won’t teach kids of the full import of Bruce Lee and his philosophy, which is a real shame. So many could benefit from Lee’s thoughts about life and martial arts, from more about the adult he (briefly) grew into, but the book focuses on his childhood tendency to get into fights. A bummer. Digital galley acquired through #edelweiss

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It sounds like the author had great appreciation for Bruce Lee's work and it made me want to look up some of his films...but I can't get past the 'I just made up stuff when there wasn't information about what happened' author's note at the end of the book. It sounds like the author had great appreciation for Bruce Lee's work and it made me want to look up some of his films...but I can't get past the 'I just made up stuff when there wasn't information about what happened' author's note at the end of the book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Easterson

    I’m not a fan of “biographies” that take more artistic license than not. Also the story was surprisingly dull for such a varied and iconic figure.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of.” – Bruce Lee (page 21)     Bruce Lee wasn’t always an impressive martial artist – he started out as just kid in Hong Kong, and despite his fortunate family circumstances, things were rough for him. This is the story of events in his youth that shaped who he was and who he became, from a rough-and-tumble kid street gang leader to eventually an upstanding young man with a young family and his own philosophy on life and on martia “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of.” – Bruce Lee (page 21)     Bruce Lee wasn’t always an impressive martial artist – he started out as just kid in Hong Kong, and despite his fortunate family circumstances, things were rough for him. This is the story of events in his youth that shaped who he was and who he became, from a rough-and-tumble kid street gang leader to eventually an upstanding young man with a young family and his own philosophy on life and on martial arts.     Di Bartolo spends most of the graphic novel on Bruce Lee’s childhood, an aspect of life which is too often underrated in looking at who a person becomes as an adult. I went into this knowing very little about Bruce Lee, so every aspect was interesting, but especially so how he could have very easily gone down a dark, gang-filled path in life. I found it a curious yet logical choice that when Di Bartolo was relating instances where Lee was subjected to racial slurs, he just did an under bar (______) to represent where the slur was, instead of substituting it or avoiding it entirely. It is ultimately important for kids to realize that even if they encounter a slur against them or who they are (or who they are perceived to be), they can still rise above that and be better than that. As we see with Bruce Lee: with the right influences at the right times, he turned his life around, and contributed something good to the world. Di Bartolo also did an interesting weaving in of the Chinese and Western Zodiacs as a sort of visual representation of how things were going in Bruce Lee’s life and what was going on, which provided a nice continuous thread throughout the biography.     The book was a very fast read for me, yet I still felt I learned quite a bit about Bruce Lee’s youth, philosophy, and how he became the man he was. Going back to how little I know of Bruce Lee: I was shocked to learn he died at age 32, in his sleep, of an allergic reaction to an over-the-counter medicine (and I felt bad for his young family – wife and two kids – to lose him so early). His early death likely contributes to his legendary and immortal status, as all we know of him is from his childhood and his shining star-ness as the innovator of Jeet Kune Do, a gifted and hardworking martial artist, and his appearances in movies where his skills – martial arts and philosophy – are on full display.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story is a quasi/semi-biographical graphic novel written and illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo. It is an ambitious graphic novel takes on the life of Chinese American star Bruce Lee. Lee Jun-fan, known professionally as Bruce Lee, was a Hong Kong-American actor, director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher. He was the founder of Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid martial arts philosophy drawing from different combat disciplines that is often credited The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story is a quasi/semi-biographical graphic novel written and illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo. It is an ambitious graphic novel takes on the life of Chinese American star Bruce Lee. Lee Jun-fan, known professionally as Bruce Lee, was a Hong Kong-American actor, director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher. He was the founder of Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid martial arts philosophy drawing from different combat disciplines that is often credited with paving the way for modern mixed martial arts (MMA). Lee is considered by commentators, critics, media, and other martial artists to be the most influential martial artist of all time and a pop culture icon of the 20th century, who bridged the gap between East and West. He is often credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in American films. Concise narration and dialogue chronicle Lee’s experiences growing up in Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation and his many street fights as an adolescent. He also has an early movie career and eventually studies Wing Chun Kung Fu under revered master Yip Man. A brief overview covers his adult life in Seattle and Oakland before Lee lands his first movie deal. Here Di Bartolo relates the storied fight between an adult Lee and martial artist Wong Jack Man in Oakland. It unfolds like a scene from a kung fu movie, initiated by racial tension, but is a cinematic if oft-retold departure from the less-dramatic reality of a combination of Lee's confrontational personality, several messages about a challenge, and weeks of planning. The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story was written and constructed somewhat well. At first, I thought it was a rather good biography, a tad concise as it is often when said biography is in graphic novel format, but good nevertheless. Until I read the author's note, it appears that Di Bartolo took some artistic license when writing the biography and doesn’t explain which parts he took this license with. Artistic-wise, Di Bartolo paints colorful, realistically styled panels with frequent allusions to the Chinese zodiac. All in all, The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story is an entertaining but not entirely faithful account of the movie legend in Bruce Lee.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Middle grade graphic novel biography. I picked up this book after seeing it recommended somewhere. I had heard of Bruce Lee in a very general sense but have never seen any of his films. This book was interesting because it truly covered his whole life-- starting at his birth and then finishing with his untimely death. His life was very interesting, with his father being a Chinese opera star, he was introduced to the film industry at a young age. Despite success on the screen, he had a lot of tro Middle grade graphic novel biography. I picked up this book after seeing it recommended somewhere. I had heard of Bruce Lee in a very general sense but have never seen any of his films. This book was interesting because it truly covered his whole life-- starting at his birth and then finishing with his untimely death. His life was very interesting, with his father being a Chinese opera star, he was introduced to the film industry at a young age. Despite success on the screen, he had a lot of trouble socially and was frequently involved in fighting. Part of his trouble stemmed from his mother being half-German, and part of it from his father being seen as supportive of the Japanese during WWII. Eventually he convinced his parents to let him study kung fu. He took to that as well, practicing every chance he got. His athleticism and focus also led him to success in dance competitions. Eventually his trouble led him to the return to the US (he was born there and had dual citizeship). He continued studying martial arts, started teaching it, and soon found his way back to cinema. This biography was very well done, showing how Lee's formative years started him on the path towards his success in martial arts. I found it interesting to see that he was also into philosophy, but I know that martial arts have a lot of mental aspects as well as the physical so maybe it's not that surprising. The author chose to add a few mystical elements based on Lee's being born in the year and the hour of the dragon. Recommended for those interested in martial arts particularly, but can be enjoyed without that connection as well.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sean Kottke

    I saw this on the shelf at the local Barnes & Noble a couple of weeks ago, put it on my online wish list, and promptly received two copies for Christmas :) I confess to having known very little of substance about Bruce Lee before reading this. That's totally on me, because it's not like I lacked for sources and gobs of friends and family who are life-long fans. I've never watched any of his films, and knew just enough about his legendary mystique to enjoy parodies of his films over the years, li I saw this on the shelf at the local Barnes & Noble a couple of weeks ago, put it on my online wish list, and promptly received two copies for Christmas :) I confess to having known very little of substance about Bruce Lee before reading this. That's totally on me, because it's not like I lacked for sources and gobs of friends and family who are life-long fans. I've never watched any of his films, and knew just enough about his legendary mystique to enjoy parodies of his films over the years, like the extended sketch in "Kentucky Fried Movie," "They Call Me Bruce," and "Balls of Fury." This GN has plenty of fictionalized elements, and apparently has several critical omissions about his adult life. Nevertheless, as a book geared to middle grades readers and focusing largely on Lee's youth, those authorial choices make sense in creating a hook for young readers to dig deeper into the literature by and about Bruce Lee and his times. Despite experiencing a seventh grade social studies curriculum deeply focused on Asian history and culture, I knew nothing about the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. That context, and how it affected Bruce Lee and his family during and after WWII, was the most intriguing component of the reading experience for me (a "for further reading" bibliography is not included, unfortunately). So, as a vehicle for the author to convey his lifelong fascination with Bruce Lee, mission accomplished with this reader.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Booey

    This one is difficult to unpack. But most importantly, do I think that kids interested in martial arts, Bruce Lee, or cool nonfiction graphic novels will enjoy it? Yes, emphatically. The Good: The art is really quite stunning in parts, especially the painted pages that are portraits or the pages focusing on his movies. The colors and painted style are really quite dramatic. I also loved the use of the Chinese Zodiac. The dragon that appears periodically through his life, with him when he is walki This one is difficult to unpack. But most importantly, do I think that kids interested in martial arts, Bruce Lee, or cool nonfiction graphic novels will enjoy it? Yes, emphatically. The Good: The art is really quite stunning in parts, especially the painted pages that are portraits or the pages focusing on his movies. The colors and painted style are really quite dramatic. I also loved the use of the Chinese Zodiac. The dragon that appears periodically through his life, with him when he is walking the way of a humble righteous path and then leaving him when he fights just to fight as a kid and then coming back to him strongly when he returns to make his life in America. A readable biography about Bruce Lee that focuses strongly on his childhood in Hong Kong. The Bad/Questionable: Not being a huge Bruce Lee fan I didn't realize that the author took so many liberties with aspects of Lee's childhood and adolescence until I reached the author's note in the back of the book. Reading it made me wonder about the accuracy of everything I had just read. Some of the characters' faces, especially when they were being depicted as angry or villains made me feel like the creator was leaning into Asian villain stereotypes. I kind of looked around the see if other reviewers felt the same way, but didn't find anything definitive so maybe it is just me. Overall, I think it is worth exploring as an introduction to Bruce Lee and as another nonfiction biographic graphic novel for kids.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I found this browsing B&N for something for my 14YO boy, who loves Cobra Kai and 2011's version of Kato. I'm pretty proud of my find because he's actually started reading it. I'm reviewing this as a mom, not so much a reader, and as such I appreciated the "glossing over" of Bruce Lee's gang days, and the recurring themes of hard work and restraint. I didn't know much about Bruce Lee before, but I found him to be a decent role model for my son. (Obviously I'd prefer someone less fighty and more br I found this browsing B&N for something for my 14YO boy, who loves Cobra Kai and 2011's version of Kato. I'm pretty proud of my find because he's actually started reading it. I'm reviewing this as a mom, not so much a reader, and as such I appreciated the "glossing over" of Bruce Lee's gang days, and the recurring themes of hard work and restraint. I didn't know much about Bruce Lee before, but I found him to be a decent role model for my son. (Obviously I'd prefer someone less fighty and more brain-surgeony, but a story about that kind of guy would be merely decorative in my house.) The telling doesn't shy away from the racism Lee experienced in the U.S., or how he fought it. My son needs to read stories like that. If I were my son's age I would've felt cheated by there being no actual changing into dragons going on, but the symbolic transmutations in the illustrations were satisfactory. (I'm pretty sure enjoying that element of Chinese mysticism in the book makes me not woke.) The illustration quality was inconsistent, ranging from "whoa" to "meh." Even the main character didn't look like the same person from frame to frame. I did have trouble following the story a couple times. Not sure if that was the fault of the illustrations, text, or my proximity to age 40.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dan Allbery

    In my continued journey to locate books with Asian characters or about Asian people, I was thrilled to find The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story. Graphic novel. Kung-Fu. Coming-of-Age story. This was a winning combination--until it wasn't. The stories told were clunky and forced. At times, di Bartolo would leap to a new idea or story without concluding the current one. No segue or transition. It made for truncated stories without much depth. Often the scenes were more about other family In my continued journey to locate books with Asian characters or about Asian people, I was thrilled to find The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story. Graphic novel. Kung-Fu. Coming-of-Age story. This was a winning combination--until it wasn't. The stories told were clunky and forced. At times, di Bartolo would leap to a new idea or story without concluding the current one. No segue or transition. It made for truncated stories without much depth. Often the scenes were more about other family members, larger historical happenings, or the Chinese zodiac. For some reason, I also didn't care much for many of the illustrations especially when the characters were upset or angry. Instead of capturing realistic facial expressions, di Bartolo made them look enraged, exploding with emotion that pulled away from the story line. I found the caricatures to be distracting, which with any text feature, is not what you want to have happen. In the author's note, di Bartolo wrote "I hope here to not only honor Bruce Lee, but also to introduce him to the young people of today and beyond." He was able to do that, so I guess there is merit and value to this graphic novel. It just wasn't for me. Recommended GR 6-8.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Trey Burley

    The Boy Who Became A Dragon can be enjoyed on two levels. You've got the graphic novel fans and the Bruce Lee fans. I'm a fan of both and enjoyed the book more than I thought I would, but can recommend it to either group with some accommodations. The book takes a look at Bruce Lee's early life. The issues that his family had, how he was a restless kid at school and his eventual decision to master kung fu. The book admits to taking some liberties with the story. Di Bartolo has a nice letter in the The Boy Who Became A Dragon can be enjoyed on two levels. You've got the graphic novel fans and the Bruce Lee fans. I'm a fan of both and enjoyed the book more than I thought I would, but can recommend it to either group with some accommodations. The book takes a look at Bruce Lee's early life. The issues that his family had, how he was a restless kid at school and his eventual decision to master kung fu. The book admits to taking some liberties with the story. Di Bartolo has a nice letter in the back of the book where he spells out which instances weren't entirely based in real life. Some people might be looking for a biography of Bruce Lee. This isn't it, but it clearly states that. What is here, is a very entertaining graphic novel, with realistic art that connects the dots of who became the most influential person in martial arts. Fans of Lee will enjoy the book for reasons other than the ones that brought them to the book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    There is quite a lot crammed into this graphic biography of Bruce Lee. I learned a lot: that his father was a famous performer; that his mother was half-German; that he was a successful child movie actor in Hong Kong. There's a bit of a morality tale going on here as Bruce learns that sometimes the best way to win is not to fight. I docked a star because it isn't until the end of the book that a note appears saying the author had to fabricate scenes or people in places where the information was t There is quite a lot crammed into this graphic biography of Bruce Lee. I learned a lot: that his father was a famous performer; that his mother was half-German; that he was a successful child movie actor in Hong Kong. There's a bit of a morality tale going on here as Bruce learns that sometimes the best way to win is not to fight. I docked a star because it isn't until the end of the book that a note appears saying the author had to fabricate scenes or people in places where the information was thin... I hate it when they feel the need to do that, rather than work around the info they don't have. I get it - it's a kids' biography and he wanted there to be a balanced, ordered story. I get it but I don't have to like it. (History major.) The art was well done and suited the story. I thought the detailed paintings sprinkled throughout added a lot. Now I just need to actually watch the movies. *sheepish*

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could. Unlike some reviewers, I don't mind that this book focuses on Bruce Lee's childhood. I think the target audience, 10-12-year-olds will enjoy that. I appreciate that Di Bartolo includes a note that some things are glossed over and fictionalized due to a lack of knowledge or conflicting reports about that time in Bruce's life. I do kind of wish there'd been more distinction, maybe with a small bibliography, about what was 100% true, what was fudged, etc. I don't I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could. Unlike some reviewers, I don't mind that this book focuses on Bruce Lee's childhood. I think the target audience, 10-12-year-olds will enjoy that. I appreciate that Di Bartolo includes a note that some things are glossed over and fictionalized due to a lack of knowledge or conflicting reports about that time in Bruce's life. I do kind of wish there'd been more distinction, maybe with a small bibliography, about what was 100% true, what was fudged, etc. I don't think it would have taken away from enjoyment of the book for most kids, and it would have been a quick little lesson on sources, fact vs. fiction, etc. Because of the focus on young Bruce, his adult career and death feels a little rushed. I would have appreciated a few more pages and maybe some specifics about Bruce's impact on movies/martial arts. That said, I think the average 10-12-year-old will enjoy this, and I think the art is really lovely.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Yung

    As perhaps might be expected, I didn’t like this. Besides the fact that it's a biography on one of our most famous Asian Americans bafflingly written and illustrated by some random white dude, I don’t understand why Di Bartolo partially fictionalized it; I wasn’t sure which parts were real. The zodiac allusions seemed to be included for no purpose other than Orientalism. Page 60 has incorrect Japanese kanji; the characters should read: 家具屋. And many of the illustrations of Asians are just… yikes As perhaps might be expected, I didn’t like this. Besides the fact that it's a biography on one of our most famous Asian Americans bafflingly written and illustrated by some random white dude, I don’t understand why Di Bartolo partially fictionalized it; I wasn’t sure which parts were real. The zodiac allusions seemed to be included for no purpose other than Orientalism. Page 60 has incorrect Japanese kanji; the characters should read: 家具屋. And many of the illustrations of Asians are just… yikes—a lot of them look worryingly close to Yellow Peril/WWII propaganda illustrations, complete with slanted and/or lines for eyes, weird noses and big teeth, and cartoonish rage [57-8, 65, 81, 106-7, 130, 220, etc.]. A few of the more realistic pages show that Di Bartolo can actually draw [216-9, 222-3], so it’s mystifying that he chose to do the rest of the graphic novel so carelessly.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sesana

    I enjoyed this book as I was reading it, and then I read the author's note. Apparently, this is a fictionalized biography. How heavily? I have no idea. Di Bartolo admits to making up conversations and events that he believes fit with what he knows about Lee, but he doesn't say which conversations and events or how much is fictionalized. This is a big pet peeve for me. And in retrospect, he obviously whitewashed Lee's experience in America significantly. The bigotry he experienced as an Asian act I enjoyed this book as I was reading it, and then I read the author's note. Apparently, this is a fictionalized biography. How heavily? I have no idea. Di Bartolo admits to making up conversations and events that he believes fit with what he knows about Lee, but he doesn't say which conversations and events or how much is fictionalized. This is a big pet peeve for me. And in retrospect, he obviously whitewashed Lee's experience in America significantly. The bigotry he experienced as an Asian actor, or he and his wife both experienced as part of an interracial couple, is entirely written out of his life story. Weirdly, he doesn't shy away from bigotry Lee experienced in China because his mother was half German. Sure, the writing is engaging enough, but I can't trust that I learned anything accurate about Lee's life.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    **Note for Beehive award Informational** This is Fiction, it even says so in the cover and the authors note. Can it be an informational book with some truth and some implied, or imagined dialogue? This could be in the GN award section. It is good enough to be nominated I really knew very little about Bruce Lee except Bruce Lee martial arts movie dude. So this book was very interesting. I read it pretty quickly. I was excited about it until I read the authors notes and then the cover. As a book an **Note for Beehive award Informational** This is Fiction, it even says so in the cover and the authors note. Can it be an informational book with some truth and some implied, or imagined dialogue? This could be in the GN award section. It is good enough to be nominated I really knew very little about Bruce Lee except Bruce Lee martial arts movie dude. So this book was very interesting. I read it pretty quickly. I was excited about it until I read the authors notes and then the cover. As a book and a story, It's very interesting and very cool (and I admit, I did find Fists of Fury on a movie channel and watched the first 30 minutes and considering the dubbing... terrible film quality and technique, it was very interesting.) but can it be part of our book award... not sure

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    I borrowed this book from the library since it seemed like a good introduction to an Asian famous figure for my bookworm of a 7 year old. After watching him plow through it, I decided to give it a read as well. As an introduction, it seemed largely age appropriate, though I think it could have gone into a bit more detail at certain parts, such as the animosity his family experienced during and after the war. I also think it rushed through a few areas, but again, considering the audience and the I borrowed this book from the library since it seemed like a good introduction to an Asian famous figure for my bookworm of a 7 year old. After watching him plow through it, I decided to give it a read as well. As an introduction, it seemed largely age appropriate, though I think it could have gone into a bit more detail at certain parts, such as the animosity his family experienced during and after the war. I also think it rushed through a few areas, but again, considering the audience and the limitations of this format, it made sense. It's a good starting point, and held my child's attention for sure.

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