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BE WATER, MY FRIEND by Ken Mochizuki


The Early Years of Bruce Lee

by Ken Mochizuki & illustrated by Dom Lee

Age Range: 7 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-58430-265-8
Publisher: Lee & Low

Mochizuki chronicles the famed and iconic actor’s early life for young readers. Bruce Lee was actually born in San Francisco, while his father was touring with the Cantonese Opera Company. He grew up in Hong Kong, restless and argumentative, but loving to read and dance. He studied martial arts, including the hard lessons of yielding and suppleness. The title, a quote from Lee, recognizes how water cannot be grabbed, shattered or hurt, but it can wear down anything. His study of martial arts led to a boxing championship, which led to more fights, so at 18, his parents sent him to San Francisco. The illustrations are dramatic and effective: Lee uses encaustic over acrylic on paper, and scratches the images in the wax. The results are rich sepia-toned images with great depth; Lee looks rather nerdy in his early years, which will no doubt lend appeal. The narrative language is somewhat stilted, but clear. A brief page of facts continues the story through stardom and early death. (Picture book/biography. 7-12)