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The Magic Horse of Han Gan
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The Magic Horse of Han Gan

by Chen Jiang Hong, Claudia Zoe Bedrick (Translator)
 

A Junior Library Guild selection

Included in New York Public Library's list "Children's Books: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing"

Named a "Best Children's Book of the Year" by Bank Street College of Education

"Altogether this is a masterfully told picture book and one whose timeless message will resonate with many

Overview

A Junior Library Guild selection

Included in New York Public Library's list "Children's Books: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing"

Named a "Best Children's Book of the Year" by Bank Street College of Education

"Altogether this is a masterfully told picture book and one whose timeless message will resonate with many readers."—School Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Carolyn Mott Ford
The author/illustrator of this book attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Peking where he studied the techniques of Chinese masters, and a note indicates he painted the pictures on silk in the same manner as Han Gan. Han Gan was born into a poor family and went to work delivering meals to the customers of a local innkeeper. Upon delivering a meal to the painter Wang Wei and noticing horses behind the house, Han Gan sketched the animals in the sand. Wang Wei saw the drawing and then provided the young lad with painting supplies. Horses were his favorite subject, and in later years the Emperor asked him to paint a horse more real than nature. Han Gan was dissatisfied with his effort and threw the painting into the fire. A steed bounded from the flames and was quickly taken by a warrior. The horse became sad upon seeing the destruction and waste of war and returned to Han Gan's studio where he became part of a painting. One of Han Gan's paintings is shown in the book.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-This elegant picture book recounts a legend involving the painter Han Gan, who lived in China 1200 years ago. Though he came from a poor family, his talent was recognized early and he won acceptance to the academy for official painters. The young man loved to draw horses, and he always drew them tethered, as he warned, "my horses are so alive they might leap right off the paper." One night, a great warrior visited him and asked him to bring to life a valiant steed. The artist was frustrated with his attempt, but as he tried to destroy the painting in the fire, the horse came to life and rode away with the warrior on its back. The great horse did not need to eat, drink, or sleep, and was invincible in battle, until it took pity on its vanquished foes. The steed threw off its rider and returned to be part of a painting on the wall of Han Gan's home. The tale is crisply and concisely told. The double-page illustrations are dominated by strong browns, blacks, and reds, and are painted directly on silk in the style of Han Gan. The oversize art underscores the tale's drama and epic scale with plenty of period detail, balanced with large open areas. Altogether, this is a masterfully told picture book, and one whose timeless message will resonate with many readers.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hong illustrates this new, if familiarly premised, legend about a historical Tang Dynasty artist with big, splendidly accomplished paintings, brushed on brown silk in a traditional style. Little Han Gan is too poor to afford brushes and paper, but such is his talent that even a drawing in the dirt earns him the support of renowned painter Wang Wei. This is followed by admission to an academy and wide fame for painting horses so spirited that they are said to come to life. One night, a literal-minded warrior comes to beg for a steed, and Han Gan actually creates one that springs off the paper. After many battles, though, the horse tires of the blood and death, and so Han Gan wakes one day to find that a sixth has joined the five horses he painted the day before. The youthful but dignified painter, the glowering warrior and especially the succession of muscular, proud, subtly hued horses will have a powerful impact on young audiences. Shelve this plainly told tale next to such similar tales of artistic transformations as Elizabeth Partridge's Kogi's Mysterious Journey (2003), Margaret Leaf's Eyes of the Dragon (1987) or the various renditions of "The Boy Who Drew Cats." (author's note) (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592700639
Publisher:
Enchanted Lion Books
Publication date:
10/01/2006
Pages:
38
Product dimensions:
9.60(w) x 12.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author


Chen has been creating beautiful, entertaining, and deeply moving picture books over the past twelve years. To depict the old culture of ancient China, he has relied upon myth and legend in many of his books. Chen has been creating beautiful, entertaining, and deeply moving picture books over the past twelve years. To depict the old culture of ancient China, he has relied upon myth and legend in many of his books.

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