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The Little Matador Hardcover – July 15, 2008
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—Coming from a long line of distinguished bullfighters, the Little Matador is expected to continue his family's proud tradition. But bullfighting bores him and drawing animals makes him happy, to his father's horror. When he debuts in the ring and stops the charging animal by drawing a picture of it, the boy proves to the townsfolk and his parents that his talent is different but also special. The old-time setting is well conveyed through illustrations using muted colors for the most part, with the hero in a bright red matador's outfit. The succinct text is enriched by numerous visual touches that help tell the story: family portraits on the walls—all of matadors; the authentic-looking arena off the town square; the Little Matador's room with books and pictures that suggest his interests in the larger world outside his town. This handsome endeavor will appeal particularly to youngsters who are familiar with bullfighting traditions. However, its emphasis on being different and finding your own talents is a good message for all children. Pair this title with Munro Leaf's classic Ferdinand for an interesting storytime on individuality.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
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In the tradition of Ferdinand the Bull comes this attractive book, featuring Little Matador, a boy descended from a long line of bullfighters. Each day he practices (with his father as the bull), but his heart is with his pencil and pad. Animals stop and pose for the boy, annoying his parents no end. They decide it’s time for him to fight the bull. A wonderful aerial view of the ring captures the boy’s aloneness, though on the next spread, when the bull charges, Little Matador is ready for him—with his paper and pencil. His portrait of the bull makes the animal halt in its tracks. The townsfolk want pictures, and eventually so does his father. This is an impressive debut for Hector, whose art, with its unusual perspectives, both amuses and charms. He’s slightly less successful with his story, which seems truncated in spots, but children will feel a real affinity for a boy who knows what he wants, parents notwithstanding, and faces fear to get it. Preschool-Grade 2. --Ilene Cooper
Top customer reviews
The art is again a strength, with the pictures telling crucial parts of the stories. The story, too, is a good one, with an underlying message of parental acceptance that is probably just as good for us to hear as it is for our kids. The book isn't at all preachy, though, and is really just a story about a little boy who loves drawing more than fighting.
It's hard to put into words exactly why I like Hector's work so much, but for my money he's put out two of the best kids' books I've read in a while. I'm really looking forward to number three. I don't know what other praise I can offer, except to say that this is a book you'll actually look forward to reading out loud every night.