Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist
Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist
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Annotation: Presents the life of the immigrant Chinese American artist who was an early employee at the Disney Studio and went on to become an important artist who worked in different mediums.
Genre: [Biographies]
Catalog Number: #190729
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Sasaki, Chris
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-524-77187-2 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-5801-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-524-77187-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-5801-7
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2018052951
Dimensions: 23 x 28 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
As the boat sailed from China to America, Wong memorized the minutiae of another boy's life.In 1919, the Chinese Exclusion Act allowed only high-status immigrants into the U.S. So 9-year-old Wong became a "paper son," taking on the identity of a merchant's son. Luckily, Wong passed the grueling immigration interview. After art school, bored by the tedium of "in-betweener" work at Disney Studios, Wong saw his chance to prove himself when Walt Disney announced his next movie, Bambi. Drawing on Felix Salten's novel, his own personal experiences, and his training in both Eastern and Western artistic styles, Wong created lush, impressionistic landscapes inspiring the look of the entire movie. Unfortunately, Wong's work was largely unrecognized; however, he never stopped making art, exploring many media. Digital illustrations emphasize precise details and shape repetition, creating a geometric counterpoint to organic washes of color and loose, impressionistic backgrounds inspired by Wong's work on Bambi. The brief narrative moves swiftly, lingering on just two key moments: Wong's immigration and the making of Bambi. The author's note provides more information about the Chinese Exclusion Act, the proliferation of paper sons and daughters, and additional details about and photos of Wong. Unfortunately, neither text nor backmatter share contextual information about the reasons for immigration, benefits and sacrifices of immigration, or the racial prejudice Wong faced both personally and professionally.A visually engaging introduction to a little-known yet influential American artist (Picture book/biography. 7-12)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3 From humble origins as a nine-year-old Chinese immigrant with false papers, Tyrus Wong challenged adversity to become a professional artist. Celebrated as the man behind the design for Disney's Bambi , Wong worked for other film studios as well. Leung's smooth exposition emphasizes the difficulties facing young Wong Geng Yeo, who traveled in 1921 under the identity of Look Tai Yow, a merchant's son, in order to evade the restrictions of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Days of practice on the long voyage allowed him to pass his immigration interview and be released to join his father, but only after an extended detention on Angel Island. Wong finished high school and art school, but continued to face discrimination as a Disney employee. Sasaki's digital illustrations portray him as the single non-white man among a group of Disney animators drawing the repetitive "in between" frames of movies. The art often reflects the style of Chinese watercolor and ink paintings. One notable spread shows the artist working as a janitor, swirling his mop trails to paint a running horse on a tile floor. Other images are stylized but recognizable and appropriate to the mood and the period. The helpful back matter includes author and illustrator notes and photos from the Wong family albums, including his immigration card. The endpapers feature the kites Wong designed and flew on the beach near his California home. VERDICT A well-told story that spotlights the too-often unrecognized talent and contributions of America's immigrants. Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* When he was nine years old, Tyrus Wong became a "Paper Son," using a false name and pretending to be another boy in order to immigrate with his father to the U.S., or "Gold Mountain." After months alone on Angel Island being questioned by immigration authorities, Wong was finally reunited with his dad, taking up a tough life as the new kid in a place where he didn't know the language. He went on to art school while working nights as a janitor and eventually became the art director of Disney's Bambi, though he never received the credit he deserved. Leung's reverent, poetic prose captures the subject's lifelong love of art and his perseverance through adversity. Sasaki's lush renderings are reminiscent of the animator's iconic style, heavily influenced by his Chinese heritage. Young readers and aspiring artists will pore over the stunning digital art, which presents an ink-and-watercolor style. The entire collaboration highlights the many contributions immigrants have made to our country and its culture, making this a lovely work for all shelves, displays centering artists, units on immigration, or showcases during Asian American History Month. Notes from author and artist, in addition to photos of Wong and his family, add further context and value to this gorgeous picture-book biography about an unsung hero of animation and Chinese American history.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (8/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews (9/1/19)
School Library Journal (9/1/19)
Word Count: 1,079
Reading Level: 4.7
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.7 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 506049 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: 890L
Guided Reading Level: S
Fountas & Pinnell: S

Winner of the American Library Association's 2021 Asian/Pacific American Award for Best Picture Book!
An inspiring picture-book biography of animator Tyrus Wong, the Chinese American immigrant responsible for bringing Disney's Bambi to life.

Before he became an artist named Tyrus Wong, he was a boy named Wong Geng Yeo. He traveled across a vast ocean from China to America with only a suitcase and a few papers. Not papers for drawing--which he loved to do--but immigration papers to start a new life. Once in America, Tyrus seized every opportunity to make art, eventually enrolling at an art institute in Los Angeles. Working as a janitor at night, his mop twirled like a paintbrush in his hands. Eventually, he was given the opportunity of a lifetime--and using sparse brushstrokes and soft watercolors, Tyrus created the iconic backgrounds of Bambi.

Julie Leung and Chris Sasaki perfectly capture the beautiful life and work of a painter who came to this country with dreams and talent--and who changed the world of animation forever.

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