Shadow of a Bull

Wojciehowska, Maia

Steve O'Donnell

March 4 2014


This story takes place in Spain, 1950's. In the small yet beautiful city of Arcangel. In this city stands a giant arena where bulls are fought. For almost anyone its a dream to fight in there and see Count De La Casa watch you from the big red grandstand.


Malono is a 10 year old boy who's father was know all over the world for his bravery and bullfighting excellence. He is supposed to follow in his fathers footsteps but there is one problem. He is scared, he does not want to be a bullfighter, he would much rather be a doctor. Nearing his 11 birthday six men that had been supplying him and his mother all their money ever since his fathers death began to take Malono to bullfights to prepare him for his tiena on his 12 birthday. He never would tell them that he was afraid, because his father wasn't.

Juan Garcia

Malono's father. Known all over the world to be the greatest bullfighter. Year round (except Winter) he would travel all over the world. Juan fought his first bull at the age of 12 at Count De La Casa's tiena. Juan was killed at the very young age of 22 by a bull. Miraculously Juan still managed to kill the bull. When Malono was born a gypsy said that Malono must be like his father "he's the one."


Juan is a 15 year old boy. He is the brother of Malono's best friend Manny. Almost every night he will escape and sneak into the cow pastures and "cape" the "seed" bulls, which is illegal. Capping is when you will perform "passes" on the bull sort of training it. The reason he will only cape the seed bulls are out of honor and respect of the other bullfighters. The seed bull is a smaller bull that will not be fought. One night Molono asks to go and cape with Juan, he warns Malono of the dangers but Malono insists. After that night Malono will make sure to get an invite for Juan in his tiena, or even if possible take his spot.

Count De La Casa

Another bullfighting legend. Bread Juan Garcia's bull and will breed Malono's bull. The Count is very old and very well known for his bravery. He is very excited for Malono's tiena. At first when The Count found out that Malono still had to wait another year for his tiena he almost allowed Malono to fight at 11.


Malono is not brave he had never been in all his life, but there is especially one thing that he is afraid of... bulls. Ever since he was he was born he knew that one day end up in the bull arena. The thing was that he wanted to be a doctor. Around his 11th birthday six men began taking him to bullfights to prepare him for his tiena. Although there was no prophecy the men always told not to practice. Everything must be like his father. Malono did not listen. He dug out his grandfather's cape and muleta and began to practice. His mother would eventually present these items to him and not his father's because they are in a museum. Malono never felt quite right practicing at home so one day he asked his best friend's brother Juan to take him and cape a bull. They had went out and Juan believed that Malono had done a great job handling the bull, even though he had threw from being so nervous and having to be saved multiple times by Juan. Although Malono really wished that Juan would take his place in the tiena. Soon his day came. Time for the tiena. Malono was very nervous. Before the tiena he would have a private talk with Count De La Casa finding out that his father had been nervous too. Hearing that he would gain a lot of confidence in himself. He in the ring play bull beautifully, but when it was time to kill the bull he could not do it. Malono announced to the arena that Juan would fight his bull.

Information on the Newbery Award

The Newbery was named after the 18th century bookseller John Newbery. On June 1, 1921 Fredrick Melcher presented the award and the seal to the National Library Award Committee. The original name was changed 4 times. This award became the first children award, soon after it became the most well known award. The award was created to encourage original and creative work for children. In 1971 the "Runner-Up" was changed to the "book of honor." Shadow of A Bull won the award in 1965. The latest winner is Flora + Ulysses in 2014.

Infomation on Maia Wojciehowska

Maia was born August 7, 1927 in Warsaw Poland. After the 1939 invasion of Poland her family fled to France where she attended many different schools before moving again to California in 1942. Maia married Selden Rodman in 1950. She then divorced and married Richard Larkin, 1970-81. She died of a stroke at 74. Her 1964 book "Shadow of a Bull" won the Newbery medal in 1965.

My Thoughts

Overall I am not sure how I feel about the book. In some parts of the I enjoyed, but in others I did not quite understand. I may have not understood some of the events in the book because I am not very familiar with the tradition and customs of the "matador." I really did enjoy learning about these customs, they were what kept me with the book and to keep reading. I feel that they should have changed the ending a bit and kept going on with the story instead of ending in the arena.