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Be Water, My Friend: The Early Years of Bruce Lee Hardcover – September 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 11 years
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books; Library Binding edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584302658
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584302650
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 8.6 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2–This picture-book biography is a gentle tribute to a martial-arts legend. The story follows Lee from his birth in San Francisco through his youth in Hong Kong. His family life, impatience with school, and legal troubles are touched upon, as is his growing passion for martial arts. The writing is clear for the most part, but can be awkward in places. Feelings and thoughts abound. For example, Gentleness? Bruce asked himself for the hundredth time, and, Angry with himself, Bruce punched the water. In an appended note, Mochizuki explains that since so little is known about his subject's youth, some events are extensions of the facts…. The brown-and-white illustrations, scratched through beeswax melted over acrylic on paper, are lovely and play an important role in moving the narrative along. Lee, who is often pictured wearing thick glasses, is shown interacting with family members, taking on opponents, and spending time in quiet contemplation. The book ends when Lee, at age 18, boarded a ship bound for America. The rest of his life is given a one-page summary. A fine introduction.–Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Focusing on the childhood and youth of Bruce Lee, this biographical picture book portrays him as a boy who made mistakes but learned from them. Growing up in Hong Kong in the 1940s and 1950s, Lee dreamed of becoming a film star and had little use for school. He took up martial arts, and though initially drawn more to its combat than its philosophy, he slowly began to understand the finer points of the discipline. When his fighting temper led to trouble with the police at age 18, his parents sent him to San Francisco for a fresh start. The book's final page, "The Rest of Bruce Lee's Story," summarizes the remainder of his life. By the author and illustrator of Baseball Saved Us (1993), this distinctive-looking book offers a smoothly written text and many handsome, textured acrylic paintings done in tones of brown and cream. With its sophisticated look and high-interest topic, this picture book has appeal for readers across a broad age range. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Seattle Samurai on October 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I do not believe this book is endorsed by the Bruce Lee Foundation.
I believe this not only because the book obviously does not state any endorsement from Bruce Lee's family (both here in the U.S. and China) but largely because of all the inaccuracies.
What is disappointing is any person who is even remotely familiar with Bruce Lee will see the drawings in this book are blatent reworkings of still shots from Bruce's films as an adult and inaccurately placed as his childhood years.
The final insult is drawings reworked to show inaccurate martial arts positions.
Bottom line is this thin 16 pg. book is just reworkings with a few lines that might quickly bore any adult and child of any age.
Recommendation - save your money and find a real bio with actual photos of Bruce Lee.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C Cameron on August 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Hi, I read this book with my two children; ages 12 and 10. This book wasn't written very exciting, but nonetheless, my children enjoyed it. I think they enjoyed all of us reading it, passing it around and talking about it.

My son is a HUGE Bruce Lee fan. We will read many more Bruce Lee Biography-style books. This book was written where my two children (12 yr. old being a struggling reader) could read it with little difficulty. The topic was easy to understand. I felt it was a nice book to discuss.

I'd rate it a 2. There were two parts I didn't like: It jumped to present to 4 years ahead of time. It talks about Kung Fu, and then it has a page that immediately talks about "boxing" with no prelude to it. (Kind of confusing. Thought I dozed off, but re-read the previous part, and no, it just jumps into boxing for no apparent reason.

Both my children rated it a 3.

It took about 3 days; 1 hr. pr day, which included discussion and some writing samples.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Spiers on November 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ken Mochizuki has built a reputation over the years writing books that encourage and inspire. In this children's book, Mochizuki introduces the ideas of Bruce Lee, especially how hard work and focus pay off, especially for something of a misfit youth. The book makes no effort to teach Lee's fighting style, and Mochizuki's colloborator Dom Lee's illustrations are age-appropriate, and will delight a child reading along with an adult at bedtime.

John Spiers
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