Reviews for Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist.

by Julie Leung

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

This picture-book biography focuses on two pivotal experiences in Wong's life--his 1920 emigration from China to the U.S. at age nine (the well-paced text describes Wong's journey as a €˜paper son,€™ a child carrying forged immigration papers) and his work as an animator at Disney Studios (his ideas inspire the scenic design for the 1942 film Bambi). Sasaki's digital illustrations are striking. Back matter includes photos, an author's note offering more detail about Wong's life (he died in 2016 at age 106!), and information about the Chinese Exclusion Act. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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