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Manolo Olivar was the son of his father Which may not seem like a necessary thing to say But in Manolo's case it is For his father had been Juan Olivar the greatest bullfighter in all Spain And Manolo was his son in two special ways one he looked just like his father; and two everyone expected that he Manolo Olivar would repeat the success of his father would be just what his father had been a fighter of bulls and a killer of death


10 thoughts on “Shadow of a Bull

  1. says:

    Shadow Of A Bull is a well written Newbery Medal winner The book was recommended by a teacher who had read it to her class I enjoyed Maia Wojciechowska's writing style The town suddenly like a spring gushing from under a rock flowed into song The guitars began a race; the tambourines of the gypsies joined in; and the castanets like a million clattering hoofs lent their beat p 60They listened to the uarrels that erupted like brush fires and died as suddenly as they started p 61I had to force myself to complete the book What I learned from the book is that I have an intense dislike for bullfighting It tortured me to read of the bulls being taunted attacked by picadores and killed by the bullfighter after showcasing the his skills Bull heads were sometimes preserved and hung on walls in commemoration of animals' courage The goring of the matadores seemed senseless I resented the six men in black who prepared Manolo Olivar for his bullfight that was to be his coming of age ritualShadow of a Bull is a dark story The events that take place lead to a satisfying conclusion but this was a novel that I personally did not enjoy


  2. says:

    When Manolo was nine he became aware of three important facts in his life First the older he became the he looked like his father Second he Manolo Olivar was a coward Third everyone in the town of Arcangel expected him to grow up to be a famous bullfighter like his fatherTo be a bullfighter was to be revered for a bullfighter was a hero a magician and a killer of death In Arcangel death came in the form of a bull and to conuer death brought glory to yourself your family and your country Manolo was the son of Juan Olivar the greatest bullfighter in Spain Ever since his father’s death everyone anxiously awaited the day when Manolo would take his father’s place and Spain would once again have a hero But unlike his father Manolo’s future was not prophesied for greatness and he worried that his heart would never allow him to live up to the expectations of his town or the legacy left by his fatherMaia Wojciechowska’s Shadow of a Bull winner of the 1965 Newberry Award is a book brimming with valuable lessons and important messages of self worth self confidence and self importance She encourages the reader to uestion the idea of heroes and those we choose to idolize—the celebrated sports figure or the wizened town physician—and she shows us the emotional and physical price of sacrificing your own future in order to carry on someone else’s She writes of life versus death bravery versus fear and a dream versus destiny It’s a lot to take in but Wojciechowska lays out all of these issues as smoothly as a matador works his cape Shadow of a Bull is rich in its history and detail regarding the art of bullfighting Readers will learn the training involved and will be introduced to several Spanish terms pronunciation guide and definitions are included at the back of the book It’s an effective primer for the sport that may test the patience of a few readers but proves interesting nonetheless Above all else Wojciechowska doesn’t let us forget that the heart of this book is young Manolo a boy wishing to bring honor to his family by fulfilling a future that is beyond his desire or control He carries the hopes and dreams of an entire country on his very small shoulders and we feel the weight of this burden grow heavier as the day of his testing nears It’s a beautifully told coming of age story of a boy trying to discover his place in the worldWalter M Schirra Sr—a fighter pilot during World War I and father of Wally Schirra the only astronaut to fly in the Mercury Gemini and Apollo programs—once said “You don’t raise heroes you raise sons And if you treat them like sons they’ll turn out to be heroes even if it’s just in your own eyes” By being true to himself Manolo found honor beyond the shadow of a bull and was able to become a hero in his own right


  3. says:

    This review contains spoilersThis book is really really good I usually spend a good amount of time during these reviews going back and forth on why or why not the title we’re discussing is or isn’t Newbery worthy I’m not going to do that this time There’s no uestion that Shadow of a Bull is distinguished and award worthy I love how compact the story is It’s a novel about growing up becoming a man facing fears and finding identity all packed into 150 pages There’s plenty in there about fighting bulls too I feel like I could do it now I still don’t feel like the fighting is really fair though I mean the bull gets killed way often than the bullfighter and the odds are kind of stacked against him Several characters in the book say that the bull really wants to die this way but I call bull crap no pun intended That bull really would probably rather be left alone to eat and mate and just be a bull But anyways this book isn’t about the ethics of bull fighting The narrator doesn’t take a stanceThe ending even surprised me a little I thought Monolo was just going to run away and become a doctor comfortable being who he was but no he actually got in the ring and confronted his fears and thena fter conuering them left and became a doctor Beautiful ending Sorry if I spoiled it for anyone


  4. says:

    BULLFIGHTINGis the setting of this book but not the topic The topic is a rich nuanced look at patrimony heritage honor courage and your duty to community expectations Wojciechowska is not concerned with debating ethics and animal cruelty; she is only interested in bullfighting as a backdrop to her story about a boy's decision on how to be brave and how to spend his lifeThat being said this book is a wealth of information about the art and culture of bullfighting If you are disgusted by descriptions of killing and goring then you will not enjoy this book Wojciechowska unsueamishly shows both the beautiful and ugly parts of bullfighting but she makes no effort to debate them This book could just as easily have been written about skiingThe plot a boy is told he should be a bullfighter but he's not sure he wants to be is hardly uniue However it is presented in this novel with a rare honesty and complexity I was in steadily mounting suspense to see how the dilemma would resolve and I read the book uickly


  5. says:

    There was a nice little story in here about bravery and learning to live the one's own life versus the one others expect but the truth is I'm never going to enjoy a book about bullfighting


  6. says:

    Upon reflection I decided to bump this up to 4 starsOverall it was an interesting book because it showed the life of a bullfighterYou can tell that Wojciechowska knows all there is to know on bullfighting and she incorporates it into the story very well With the added glossary I never felt lost or confused and ended up learning a lot of how the practice of bullfighting worksThe story focuses on a young boy who's father was a incredibly famous bullfighter in his town He was so popular that the town is basically dedicated to him even after his death When Manolo was just 3 his father ended up dying leaving behind an incredible legacy that the town reminisced They reminisced so much that everywhere Manolo went people would look at him and think Juan's son Juan's shadow Since he was young Manolo was told that he was going to be a bullfighter just like his father However Manolo is terrified of this prospectIt's a really good book that shows the pros and cons of putting expectations on children The pros being and child pushes himher self but the con is that that the child does so out of fear of disappointment Manolo really struggles with accepting his role as shadow to a father he never knew He desperately wants to hold some connection to his father and bullfighting is the only way possible What's sad is how clearly this book illustrates the thoughts that go through a child's head when his society starts having expectations from himManolo isn't happy but he doesn't know what else to doI really liked Manolo and was surprisingly able to connect a little with him Although all ends well he is a simple example of the devastating mental hell kids will put themselves through without telling anyone You may be surprised at how much your kid takes your expectations to heart which I think is what this book is trying to teach both parents and kidsIt's purpose was to encourage kids to stand up for what you want and to show parents what goes on in a kid's mind when you begin to expect to much from himherThe only criticisms I had was that1 The time period It didn't seem at all to be based in 2015 17 as I'm pretty sure no one would allow a 1011 year old to play the sport even a safer version may not be allowed Yet there were cars in this book so????2 Manolo's mother At times she would be worried for him only to suddenly change and be proud that her son is a bullfighter I don't really think any mom would be proud of that but what do I know However during a scene when she talks about Juan she becomes very melancholy and upset with the whole sport so I didn't know if she truly supported the town making her son into her husband's shadow or if she forced herself to be proud because she thought this was what her son wantedOverall a good uick read Would recommend to anyone really especially parents


  7. says:

    Learned a lot about bull fighting but it reads a little like a textbook in the first half in that you have to keep flipping to the glossary at the back for an explanation of italicized terms Throughout the book the author glorified the artistry of bull fighting without addressing the downsidewhen bullfighting began to develop in Spain it was a pastime for the noblemen only Through careful breeding the bulls developed their extraordinary bravery which is completely lacking in all species of bulls except those raised on our peninsula As the bravery was bred into them cowardice and tameness were bred out And today there is as much resemblance between a brave bull and an ordinary bull as there is between a wolf and a lap dogDon't expect it to be an even contest The bull must die Only sometimes very rarely does the bull not die If he lives after he enters the arena it is for one of two reasons either he has been too cowardly and disgraced will meet his death outside of the ring or he has been so brave that both the bullfighter and the public wish to spare him to perpetuate that extraordinary bravery in his descendantsDon't waste your pity on the bull He will fight for his life and he will die in battle And that's how he'd choose his death if he had a chance to choose in hot blood and not in the miserable slaughterhouse where he can't fight back And don't pity the horses It's a necessary and ugly evil The bull must hit something solid or he will not go for the lure of the muleta And he must be weakened to lower his head that's what the horse and the picador are forThe sun is hot most of the year It scorches the people and it scorches the earth for five months from May to September The sun is the joy and the sorrow of the people It destroys their crops while it warms them with the heat they could not live without And when the rains come they are either a curse or a blessing Sometimes the river floods and the people lose their animals their crops and even their housesthe tragedy is not that some people are blood thirsty The tragedy is that boys like him know of nothing else they want to do I've grown old looking at wasted livesHow could it bethat this boy would happily die to do something he himself would rather die than do?


  8. says:

    This woman with the most Polish name I have ever known submerges us completely into the masculine culture of Spain and the “toreo” the art of bullfighting Maia Wojciechowska also makes us feel the emotional suffering that Manolo the young hero of the story felt each year until he was eleven because he believed he was a coward and not worthy to be his dead father’s son Manolo did not have “aficion” for bullfighting as his heroic father had and the author made me grieve and worry for this extremely likable young boy until the very end of the bookThe Shadow of a Bull made me glad that I am reading all the Newberys that I can find because it is a book I would never have picked up to read had it been written when I was young and would have held no interest for me had I seen it as a mother or a teacher in the 1980’s I would have been wrong to pass it up Shadow has many cultural and life lessons for young readers; late elementary and middle school students would benefit most I think Bulls do not die prettily and there is not need for young readers to know that realityThe characters are uietly strong from Manolo to his mother to enthusiastic and sweet young Juan Garcia—who does have great passion or aficion for toreo—through the very believable and also uietly heroic doctorI doubt that Shadow of a Bull would win the Newbery in the this century but I am glad it did towards the end of the 20th The book deserves to be appreciated by many even those who will never see a bullfight


  9. says:

    Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska takes place in the province of Andalusia southern Spain which is characterized by majestic mountains lacey olive groves the round symmetry of the bullrings and the pointed church steeples Manolo Oliver is the son of the greatest matador in Spain Juan Oliver who was killed by a bull and is expected to someday follow in his fathers footsteps but there is one problem Manolo does not want to be a bullfighter and is afraid of bulls Unfortunately for Manolo at the age of 12 he has to fight his first bull The story leads up to the climax of the final bullfight and the courage and bravery it takes for him to get there In this book Manolo is expected to be just like his father and follow in his footsteps In my life I am expected to do a lot of things my parents have done but I am still working on them Manolo also faced his fear of fighting a bull at the age of 12 and I faced my fear of heights when I was 12 too I really liked reading Shadow of a Bull because the reader got to see how Manolo built up his courage and fear to fight the bull By the end of the book Manolo became a man and it was amazing to see the transition from the beginning to end I realized that anything is possible and when someone tells you they can’t do something it really means they don’t want to This was an eye opening book and I really took pleasure reading it


  10. says:

    My opinion about the story was good because it has a lot of surprises and it was also very entertaining What I have learned in this story is that you can't live up with expectations of other people You have to know what you want in your life and do the best you can in order for you to fulfil your dreams and ambitions in life however knowing what you want is not easy you need to have a strong determination to be successful In order for you to be successful you have to give it a try to do something like Manolo did however he realized that being a bullfighter even though he tried but it wasn’t his ambition in life Overall the story tells us to be who you are