Book Review: The Magic Brush by Kat Yeh Transcends Cultural Boundaries

The Magic Brush by Kat Yeh

In a heartwarming children’s tale featuring a young Chinese girl, The Magic Brush provides an engaging story line appealing to readers of all cultures. Jasmine’s grandfather comes to live with her family and teaches her the time-honored art of Chinese calligraphy. Together they create and travel to a magical world of dragons, flying horses, and friendly monkeys. When grandfather becomes ill and never returns, Jasmine recreates the lessons learned to relive the magic instilled by him.

Beyond the story line, the book introduces children to the Chinese language. Thousands of years ago when the language first developed, Chinese characters resembled pictures. Words related to water featured three diagonal lines to resemble splashing. The character for fire looked like flames. The horse character included four dots to represent hooves. The vibrant illustrations in The Magic Brush seamlessly incorporate Chinese characters mentioned in the story line. Parents will love this primer to the Chinese language and children will love searching for the hidden characters within the pictures.

The author, Kat Yeh, based parts of the book on true life experiences. The characters’ names are those of her children and their grandfather. Details such as how grandfather peeled clementines in one long curly peel are unique to the author’s own memories. It is this honesty that comes through in the writing to grabs readers’ hearts.

Children of all ethnicities can relate to the book’s universal themes of family, love, tradition, loss, and the memories that live on. The aspects of magical travel in imaginary worlds hold no cultural boundaries. The Magic Brush is the ideal book for children grades K-3.
You’re Lovable to Me by Kat Yeh

About the Author: The Magic Brush (Walker Books for Young Readers) is Kat Yeh’s second children’s book. She published her first book, You’re Lovable to Me in 2009 (Random House; Pre-K to Grade 2). Kat Yeh resides with her family in Long Island, NY and is currently working on a middle grade book. The Magic Brush and You’re Lovable to Me are available at all major book stores and online retailers.

Note: This book review was republished with permission by the NY Motherhood Examiner (Maria Adcock) who is also the creator of

  • mommylok

    This looks like a book my daughter will really enjoy – thanks for the review!

  • Julie

    Nice book for little girls.

  • Deepak

    Nothing like a good book to gets kids interested in reading. Thanks for the introduction / review to this one.

  • Kimberly/Mom in the City

    Both of my sons are avid readers. I will have to put this on their list. Thanks!

  • Nikki @ Mommy Factor

    Looks like an interesting read. I will look for it. Thanks

  • Michelle

    Based on your review, I just ordered this book for my niece. Thanks!