Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look

Brush of the Gods

This gorgeous picture book biography, according to Kirkus Reviews in a starred review, is "a cheerful introduction not only to Wu Daozi, but to the power of inspiration." Who wants to learn calligraphy when your brush is meant for so much more? Wu Daozi (689-758), known as China's greatest painter and alive during the T'ang Dynasty, is the subject of this stunning picture book. When an old monk attempts to teach young Daozi about the ancient art ...

Details Brush of the Gods

TitleBrush of the Gods
Release DateJun 25th, 2013
PublisherSchwartz & Wade
GenreChildrens, Picture Books, Art, Biography, Cultural, China, Asia, History, Folklore, Biography Memoir

Reviews Brush of the Gods

  • Dustin
    Wu Daozi is still considered by many to be one of China’s most gifted artists, which is a very impressive feat in any era. However, Daozi is thought to have lived between 689 and 759, rendering his accomplishments that much more impressive, astounding, and awe-inspiring. Not unlike a Hollywood film, at the pinnacle of his success, he suddenly vanished, never to be seen or heard from again.Often called the Sage of Painting, Daozi revolutionized ...
  • Linda
    I've done a little calligraphy, and seen/read of Chinese works of art, but have never heard of Wu Daozi, known as China's greatest painter. The story begins as he learns calligraphy from monks, stern, following the rules: "grind the ink" just so, "Hold your brush in line with your nose." But when he tried, "straight lines splintered into trees" and "His hooks caught fish." He found he could paint, loved to paint, and began painting on the walls o...
  • Laura
    Text to Self- I compared Danzi’s first ability to paint to my own. I struggled in middle school once we started having an actual grade. I kept improving and by 8th grade my teacher had entered my artwork in an art show that earned honorable mention. It’s not a masterpiece that Daozi created but I was very proud of my hard work. 1. What is calligraphy?2. How would you compare Daozi’s teacher to your teacher?3. How would you get ink for your ...
  • Rachel Watkins
    This tells an imagined story of the life of Wu Daozi, China's greatest painter, who lived during the height of classical Chinese civilization. Meilo So's watercolor, ink, gouache, and colored pencil illustrations pops the story to life. The author's notes say that Daozi almost single-handedly changed the way people viewed painting. This is one of my favorites art/picture books of 2013.
  • Karen Witzler
    A picture book about the T'ang Dynasty artist Wu Daozi , who is said to have revolutionized Chinese painting and to have created images that seemed to live. In this book his images do become living things and run away... a good introduction to Chinese art and history for ages 4 and up.
  • Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
    4 starsThis was a random checkout from the library. Loved the art, the story was interesting as well.
  • Tasha
    This is a picture book biography of Wu Daozi from the T'ang Dynasty, who is considered China's greatest painter. As a child, Daozi is taught calligraphy, but his brush does not want to just create Chinese characters. Instead, he creates the first stroke and then turns it into an animal like a fish or a horse. Daozi began to paint on walls, painting so fast that his sleeves opened like wings, gaining him the nickname of Flying Sleeves. He painted ...
  • Barbara
    This picture book provides a lively and engaging introduction to Wu Daozi, widely considered to be China's greatest painter. The book follows the young boy as he painstakingly tries to learn calligraphy. But instead of the characters he is supposed to be copying, his strokes turn into animals and flowers. Eventually, he grows older, and his paintings become so realistic that they literally come to life and leave the paintings. The watercolor, ink...
  • Jenny
    This is interesting and unusual. I wouldn't characterize it as biography although it does introduce the reader to Wu Daozi, a Chinese painter. Wu Daozi is supposed to practice calligraphy but instead finds himself painting. He is enormously talented, in fact, that his paintings come to life and fly off the wall where he paints them. Because his paintings don't stay on the walls, he loses all his admirers. Then one day the emperor co...
  • Teresa
    I really wanted to like this more because I want more people to know about Chinese artists (and I was recently in Chang'an/Xi'an, so it has extra meaning for me, more than the usual cultural heritage relevance), but the prose didn't sing for me. It didn't flow as well as it could from beginning to end, and was disjointed in certain parts -- e.g. when his painting came alive and disappeared and people stopped giving him money which he'd been using...
  • Wendy
    Just lovely. I love the way the illustrations get increasingly complex and gorgeous and chaotic as the book moves along, with a sudden shift at the very end to a calm and controlled image. This one strikes me as being more kid-friendly than a lot of the cultural retellings/art-focused picturebooks have been lately.
  • Edward Sullivan
    A beautiful story imagining the life of Wu Daozi, considered by many to be China's greatest painter.
  • Matt Venneman
    Summary: This story is about the Chinese painter Wu Daozi (689-759) who lived during the T’ang dynasty (618-907). As a young boy learning calligraphy, he notices how his strokes transform into something different. One stroke for a character changes to a blade of grass, another to a tree, and another as a tail on horse. These transformations continue, and his strokes turn into beautiful paintings. As he grew older, his painting got better. Then,...
  • Karlee Rayman
    This is a multicultural picture book about the legend of Wu Daozi. There were many aspects of this book that caught my eyes. The first one being the author’s use descriptive words and vivid verbs that creates an image in the reader’s head that extends what he/she see in the illustrations. In addition, the illustrations within the book add a tremendous amount of detail to the story. You can visually see what the printed texted is saying as wel...
  • e. ellor
    I adored this book, even more so because after the first page I was sure I was not going to like it. I had no idea who Wu Daozi was so after the first page I thought this was going to be a book about calligraphy. I am happy to be wrong. It is actually a magical story of a child with so much inspiration inside him that he cannot contain it. Art just leaps out of him. With practice he gets so good his drawing begin to come to life. The story is wel...
  • Emily Carrell
    A boy named Daozi wasn't very good at calligraphy, but instead had a talent for painting. He painted everywhere: on paper, on the walls, anywhere he could find. His paintings were so beautiful and life-like that people started to believe they were real! What would happen if his painted butterflies actually started to fly off the walls, and his horses ran from the walls as well? This is a beautiful story of a legend in Chinese culture put into a w...
  • Patsy
    My 5 year old loved this book!
  • Simona GB
    Great story, full of adventures, it teaches a good lesson, brings kids closer to painting and arts in general, not to mention the outstanding illustrations.
  • Pam
    A biography of Wu Daozi based on research from that time period. None of his frescoes survive. Known as the greatest artist of the time period in China.Easy to follow for elementary readers.
  • Rachel
    Beautiful illustrations to introduce the magic of Chinese calligraphy and brushwork.
  • Cheryl
    A bit long for pre-school, but not complex. The pictures absolutely suit, and both story and art are appealing. The authors' notes are concise yet sufficient.
  • Y.Poston
    Beautiful story (legend of Wu Daozi)!Beautiful imagery!
  • Sunny
    This picture book focuses on the imagined life of one of China's earliest classical painters. I didn't know anything about Wu Daozi before reading this book but I've definitely come to appreciate his contributions to the world of painting. The book, while nicely illustrated, has clunky narrative text and flow. It read a bit more like an essay than a children's book.
  • Brian Rock
    Wu Daozi is being taught the high art of calligraphy by the monks of Chang’an, China.The monks explain to him that, “Calligraphy is the highest of the arts,” and that, “it reveals your character.”But try as he might, Wu can’t seem to copy the examples of his teachers. His attempts at lettering transform into worms, then fishes, then horses.As if his brush has a mind of its own, Wu’s strokes gallop and glide across the page creating ...
  • Peg
    Brush of the GodsLenore LookIllustrations by Meilo So Look and So have created an imagined biography of legendary Chinese painter Wu Daozi (689-759). A young Wu Daozi desires to learn calligraphy, but his strokes created worms, grass, trees, and fish hooks. “Each day something new and surprising dripped out of Daozi’s brush.” Soon drawing on paper wasn’t enough and he began to draw on walls everywhere, painting so quickly “his sleeves l...
  • The Styling Librarian
    Here's my thoughts on the book: I've watched Brush of the Gods collect one lovely book review after another. See below for other reviews!There are many reasons I think that Brush of the Gods, picture book biography about Wu Daozi, is brilliant. I'd heard about the famous artist in the past, how there was a legend on how he walked into one of his paintings instead of dying... I appreciated how much hands-on research Lenore Look went through to cre...
  • Kaela Ewing
    "Brush of the Gods" is a unique story of an artist and painter. The book's background is representative of the Tang Dynasty and stresses the power of art, especially calligraphy, the most honored art. The main character does not appear to be proficiently enough in his calligraphy classes, but he is quite the artist. He begins to draw on walls everywhere and is given the name, "Flying Sleeves". He became so enthralled in his work, that he sometime...
  • Leslie
    An “Author’s Note” prefaces the story with a brief history of Wu Daozi (689-759) “known as perhaps China’s greatest painter.” Little has been written about him, and Brush of the Gods is “pieced together from references I found in translations of T’ang poetry and essays and from the many know facts about life in Chang’an during T’ang times.”Even at a young age, the classroom was no place for Daozi. He moves his creations into...
  • Claudia Hall
    I felt that even though it lacked a sense of purpose the Chinese art in the book and the hidden message was important enough and useable in the classroom. The Chinese art was a way to explain culturally how that region of the world identifies beauty. The hidden message about how a person can’t expect to be good at everything so showcase your strengths in the best way you can. That’s what Wu Daozi did, he knew that he was good at painting and ...