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The Magic Brush    by Kat Yeh & Huy Voun Lee order for
Magic Brush
by Kat Yeh
Order:  USA  Can
Walker, 2011 (2011)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

This picture book for children four years old and up combines a heartwarming family story with a magical adventure. And, as an extra bonus, as young readers follow the narrative they will learn a smattering of Chinese words and the accompanying characters. For example, they'll discover how to create the symbols that signify moon, forest, horse, friends and flame.

The main character in the story is a little girl named Jasmine who learns Chinese calligraphy from her grandfather. As she learns to paint the characters, the child and her grandfather are magically transported to the wonderful world (filled with a horse, dragon and monkeys) that they are creating together.

Unfortunately, Jasmine's grandfather becomes ill and dies. Now the crestfallen child has to cope with his loss. Jasmine then realizes that the art they had enjoyed creating together serves as a link with her grandfather.

It is then - when Jasmine decides to share with her little brother what she had been taught - that once again, the magic lives.

Beautifully illustrated, this touching story works on a number of levels. It also features a pronunciation key for Chinese words, a short history of Chinese art, and also a few suggestions for creating Chinese treats hungry readers will enjoy after they have practiced their calligraphy.

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