Review Blog

Jul 13 2011

The magic brush by Kat Yeh

cover image

Illus. by Huy Voun Lee, Bloomsbury, 2011. ISBN 9781 408815458.
(Ages 5+) Picture book. When grandpa comes to stay permanently, he invites Jasmine into his room, asking her to make a wish. He then paints her wish, using his magic brush, sweeping it across the paper, making the calligraphy letters to go along withe story they create. Jasmine wants to fly to the moon, so one page shows their journey, with the calligraphy on the page as well. Eventually they get to the mountains, after going along a river, meeting some monkeys and finding a flying horse, which leads them to the baby dragon.
Each day grandpa takes Jasmine on this journey, teaching her the calligraphy and the story which goes with the letters, helping her become proficient with the brush. When he leaves, she must wait for her younger brother to be old enough for her to teach him. So the cycle of life is shown in this gentle story of birth and rebirth, teaching the next generation, and the underlying values of love and family.
Flat boldly coloured illustrations fill each page and at the end of the book, the Chinese characters are given again with their meanings, along with the story of calligraphy and some recipes for the food mentioned in the text.
Fran Knight

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