Liu and the Bird: A Journey in Chinese Calligraphy
Calligraphy by Feng Xiao Min
Translated by Sibylle Kazeroid
Ages 4 to 8
North-South Books, 2006, 0-7358-2050-3
One night, as Liu lies asleep, she dreams of her grandfather. He is talking to her and though she does not hear his words she knows she must go to him. The next morning she sets out, guided by a star. As she makes her way towards her grandfather’s house Liu is also guided by a child, by a river, and even by the trees in a forest. She also meets a woman and two men, all of whom help her on her way. Then, after climbing high mountains, she arrives at her grandfather’s house at last. He is expecting her knowing that his words of love would somehow reach her no matter how far away she was.
In this beautiful picture book the author tells a simple and magical story with sensitivity and an obvious appreciation for the power of language. She combines her tale with a demonstration of how pictures evolved into the characters of written Chinese. Readers will see how the picture of a bamboo plant does indeed resemble the character which represents the word bamboo in Chinese. Thus children will come to see how their world is full of pictographs, symbols, and letters, all of which have a story to tell.
Unique illustrations created using linocuts with dyed paper perfectly capture the simple beauty of Chinese style art and Chinese calligraphy.
At the back of the book the author includes a brief description of what she was trying to do in a her book. She then goes on to describe four interesting activities that readers might like to explore which will give them the opportunity to try, among other things, to create symbols of their own.
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