The Girl Who Drew a Phoenix

The Girl Who Drew a Phoenix

5.0 2
by Demi
     
 

One day a young girl named Feng Huang finds a phoenix feather that has fallen from the sky. When she tries to draw the magical bird and share her inspiration, no one is able to tell what it is. Luckily for Feng Huang, the Queen Phoenix sees her troubles and swoops down from the heavens to offer her help.

A phoenix's powers are not easily revealed, however, and

Overview

One day a young girl named Feng Huang finds a phoenix feather that has fallen from the sky. When she tries to draw the magical bird and share her inspiration, no one is able to tell what it is. Luckily for Feng Huang, the Queen Phoenix sees her troubles and swoops down from the heavens to offer her help.

A phoenix's powers are not easily revealed, however, and Feng Huang embarks on a journey of thought, wonder, and self-discovery. Wisdom, Clear Sight, Equality, Generosity, and Right Judgment are worthy qualities indeed, but Feng Huang finds that they are only truly powerful when shared.

Brilliant sweeps of plumage and flourishes of sparkles and stars accentuate award-winning artist Demi's interpretation of one of the most intriguing and elegant creatures of ancient myth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Like Demi's The Boy Who Painted Dragons, this lavishly illustrated story tells of a child who is helped in his/her art by divine beings, but this time the template is overworked. Once again, fold-out pages add drama to the art, the rich colors are breathtaking and the creatures are gilded and ornate. Even the plot is similar-in this case it is Queen Phoenix and her friends who take pity on Feng Huang and not only help her learn to draw better but inculcate a Wonder Woman list of qualities: wisdom, clear sight, equality, generosity and right judgment. Demi tries to define each power by demonstrating its opposite. For example, the Phoenix of Right Judgment tells Feng Huang, "To have Right Judgment you must pass through the fire of Jealousy!" First, the child artist produces a drawing of two girls standing back to back, their very topknots a study in hauteur; her next picture shows the same pair in an affectionate embrace. Demi's artwork is as exquisite as ever, and her phoenixes, incorporating red silk brocades, look especially magical. The predictable story and its faux Asian wisdom, however, are shopworn. Ages 7-10. (Sept.)

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Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Demi introduces us to the mystic powers of the Phoenix, "the Supreme Female Powers and Principles of the universe," and to the powers of Wisdom, Clear Sight, Equality, Generosity, and Right Judgment. On Earth, a little girl named Feng Huang finds a phoenix feather. Wanting some of these powers, she hopes to attain them by drawing a phoenix. The Queen Phoenix, watching, offers help, with a list of what to do. She must pass through a series of tests to find the phoenix of each of the powers and then draw them. She finally is able to draw, with great skill, a magnificent phoenix that rises, returns, and takes Feng Huang and her friends through the heavens. As they fly, the phoenix teaches them the powers, so they can feel the spirit. The mysterious lessons of the phoenix are a bit confusing and difficult to grasp, but they are obviously important for all to learn. Demi uses paints, black ink lines to delineate shapes, and brocade cloth to dress her small human characters and shape her bird. Each bird for each power has its own color: for example, yellow for Equality and deep purple for Generosity, with glorious red for Feng Huang's final triumph. The bird is so magnificent that it requires a fold-out to hold it. Demi's usual touches of gold light up the jacket in particular and brighten the end pages along with those inside. Readers can puzzle over the deep meanings, or just enjoy the beauty of Demi's creations. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

A girl finds a phoenix feather and decides that drawing the creature might help her to acquire its magical powers. Although Feng Huang works hard, her picture makes the other children laugh because it resembles an owl or a bat more than a phoenix. Pitying her, the Queen Phoenix swoops down to Earth and allows the child to spend a day drawing her. Although Feng Huang's renditions improve greatly, she still cannot capture the mythical beast's spirit. The Queen Phoenix again intervenes, giving the child a list of the bird's powers so that she can learn about each one. Through her diligence, she meets several gorgeous creatures that each embody a virtue-wisdom, clear sight, equality, generosity, and right judgment. Afterward, Feng Huang draws a glorious phoenix that gives her and her friends a ride through the heavens. The powers are relatively abstract, and as Feng Huang understands the opposing forces at work in each one-generosity and greed, wisdom and ignorance-she "draws away" the negative aspect. Brilliant splashes of color and imaginative details bring Demi's vision of this mythical creature to life. What doesn't come alive is the story, which seems little more than a vehicle for the paintings. In addition, no sources for the author's understanding of the phoenix in Chinese mythology are given, and adult readers, who surely will be needed to facilitate a child's understanding of the abstractions, will be left wondering if this phoenix represents traditional Chinese wisdom or Demi's imaginative re-creation of the creature.-Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA

Kirkus Reviews
A girl finds a phoenix feather and wonders if she can attain its special powers by drawing the magical bird. Feng Huang has never seen a real phoenix, and when she tries to draw one, her friends laugh at her. The Queen Phoenix takes pity on Feng Huang and visits, telling her "she must know the powers of the phoenix to truly draw them." Queen Phoenix gives Feng Huang a list of the phoenix qualities: wisdom, clear sight, equality, generosity and right judgment. As Feng Huang tackles each, she is visited by a different phoenix who offers a clue for her to draw her way to understanding. When Feng Huang finally masters each power, she has changed completely and is ready to draw a "glorious phoenix" that amazes and teaches her friends. Exquisitely rendered in paint, ink and Chinese silk brocade, multicolored phoenixes literally swirl across double and foldout pages with magnificent curvilinear plumage, contrasting sharply with Feng Huang's diminutive figure and offering visual proof of this mythic creature's powers. Splendid. (Picture book. 7-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416953470
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
09/09/2008
Pages:
52
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Demi is the award-winning creator of numerous books for children, including The Empty Pot; Buddha; The Dalai Lama; The Legend of Saint Nicholas; Gandhi, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book and received an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award; and Muhammad, which was named a Kirkus Reviews Editors’ Choice selection, a Booklist Editors’ Choice selection, one of the Booklist Top Ten Religion Books for Youth, and a Book Links “Lasting Connections” selection, and was cited in a Publishers Weekly starred review as a “timely, exceptionally handsome biography [that] serves as an excellent introduction to Islam.” Demi lives in Carnation, Washington.

Demi is the award-winning creator of numerous books for children, including The Empty Pot; Buddha; The Dalai Lama; The Legend of Saint Nicholas; Gandhi, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book and received an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award; and Muhammad, which was named a Kirkus Reviews Editors’ Choice selection, a Booklist Editors’ Choice selection, one of the Booklist Top Ten Religion Books for Youth, and a Book Links “Lasting Connections” selection, and was cited in a Publishers Weekly starred review as a “timely, exceptionally handsome biography [that] serves as an excellent introduction to Islam.” Demi lives in Carnation, Washington.

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Girl Who Drew a Phoenix 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
storyladySM More than 1 year ago
Feng Huang is different from her classmates. She finds a phoenix feather and begins to draw a phoenix on her garden wall. This proves to be challenging and her classmates make fun of her efforts. Suddenly, Queen Phoenix appears and not only encourages her to draw but teaches her life lessons as well. The pictures are amazingly beautiful. The text completes each thought within a page. Recommend age 4 to adult.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago