The Rise (and Falls) of Jackie Chan is one of my favorite picture books that I have read, or at least, read this year.
Kristen Mai Giang’s picture book highlights the life of the actor Jackie Chan. It is humorous, informative, and inspirational. From a poor child living in an ambassador’s home, but was limited to a small room and forced to share a bed with his parents, to international martial arts and move star, Chan’s life unfolds. Due to the poverty his family faced, he was sent away to study martial arts, and other things to be part of the Chinese opera. But he did not have much of a “book education.” Separated from his family, subject to acts that would not be allowed today, Chan was not the best, but he was the best he could be. And he was the only way he know how to be, which was not to be the next Bruce Lee.
The afterwards give more information and mention who his was the “big and little” brothers mention that he was in school with (martial artists, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao). Everything about the story compliments the illustrations. Alina Chau created images that are bold, but not overpowering, yet give the tension and show the action. They are colorful, busy and show what is needed to let you know the man, the myth and the comic. There are sunrises on each one, some show some of the unlikely influences Chan had.
Adult readers will see some of the history of China, Hong Kong, and of course, how Chan grew up. While the child reader/listener will enjoy the action. Aimed at the picture book crowd, this is for older readers. Any child interested in movies, the arts, or martial arts would be certain to enjoy.