"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Monday, March 31, 2014

Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look & Meilo So

Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look & Meilo So, 2013.

This is another story about a painter so talented that his works come to life.  ( See also Lord of The Cranes, Liang and the Magic Paintbrush, The Magic Horse of Han Gan and The Boy Who Drew Cats. It is the imagined story of Wu Daozi, a great Chinese painter that actually lived during the T'ang dynasty (618-907). Calligraphy was considered the highest form of art, but Wu Daozi painted lifelike figures with moment such as hair, scarves and robes swinging and blowing in the wind. Lenore Look based her tale in part on information found in T'ang poetry and essays.

In our story, young Wu Daozi tries to learn calligraphy from his monk instructor, but instead of characters, he paints plants and animals. As his canvas expands to city walls, he draws scenes with Buddhas and earns the nickname "Flying Sleeves." He paints all day long and collects food for the poor through his admirers' gifts. Until one day, when he draws a butterfly so full of life that it flies away and he has nothing to show at nightfall. Wu Daozi loses all of his followers except the faithful children, and when he has grown up, he receives a commission from the emperor himself. This allows Wu Daozi to create his masterpiece and maybe even to sidestep death itself!

Meilo So provides the book's watercolor, ink, gouache and colored pencil illustrations.

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