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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Liu and the Bird: A Journey in Chinese Calligraphy
by Catherine Louis
Age Range: 6-8
Liu, a young Chinese girl, is led by a little bird on a dreamlike journey through a traditional Chinese landscape to see her grandfather. He gives her a paint brush and encourages her to draw her journey instead of telling him in words.
On each double-page spread there are a few lines of text, a large picture of Liu on her journey, and a series of thumbnail images that take a word from the story and show the evolution of Chinese script from pictures to modern calligraphy.
The calligrapher Feng Xiao Min, shows the symbol in three stages: from a pictorial image, to an early pictograph and finally to the actual Chinese character that is currently used in China today. Complementing the calligraphy are the bold, distinctive coloured linocut images framed in black lines by artist, Catherine Louis that are similar in style to the classic Chinese style of landscape painting.
This innovative book combines the story of Liu and an explanation of Chinese calligraphy creating a multiple layer of storytelling. Young children will hopefully feel encouraged to investigate calligraphy further and try to draw some of the Chinese characters for themselves. There is a useful section at the end of the book with activity ideas and a memory game.