Review Blog

Mar 17 2011

The magic brush by Kat Yeh

cover image

Ill. by Huy Voun Lee. Bloomsbury, 2011. ISBN 9781408815458.
(Age 4-7) Jasmine is a small girl who is too old for afternoon naps, unlike her little brother, Tai Tai. When her Agong  (Grandfather) comes to live with her family, he sets her on a magical path of mythological creatures and wonderful writing teaching her how to use brush and ink to write words and create pictures. When he dies, Jasmine teaches her little brother the magic of the calligraphy brush so that together they can recreate their artist grandfather.
This is a moving story about family love and being an artist. Agong is a patient grandfather who introduces Jasmine to the magic of making a wish. Together they use their imagination and paint and brush to conjure up the moon and stars and fly to rescue a baby dragon from the top of a mountain. Jasmine loves learning with Agong and is very sad when he is gone. However she loves her baby brother and when he is too big for a nap she teaches him all she has learnt.
Rich deep colours bring the story alive. The Chinese characters for key words in the text are drawn in the corners of the pages and there is an explanation of how to pronounce Chinese words at the end of the book. A brief explanation of Chinese art is also given. Children will also be intrigued by the information about Chinese treats.
Kat Yeh has used a clever way to introduce both Chinese culture and words which young children are sure to enjoy.
Pat Pledger

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