Sunday, May 12, 2024

Review: The Magic Paintbrush by Kat Zhang with Eric Darnell and art by Phoebe Zhong

This was a book I knew I needed once I saw that stunning cover. It is so pretty and magical and I just knew I would like this story. And I did, but I did not love it like I had hoped to. So it ended up being a three star for me. It was such a quick read, though, and the writing was truly wonderful. The artwork was fully gorgeous.

This book takes place over just a few days. It's a story that is told mostly during the same moment. Which I did like, as it was such a fast read. But it also made me care less about everything. I felt like I didn't get to know the characters enough. It all felt a bit too rushed. But the story was still magical to me and I did truly like it.

I'm honestly not sure what to write about this book. I do not want to share spoilers. And this book was so short. But there are still some things that I can share, I think. As I mentioned, the writing was perfect. I also liked the main girl a whole bunch too. It is told from the point of view of twelve-year-old Amy. She's being forced to spend a week with her grandma, her Lao Lao, as her parents go off on an arctic cruise. She's not very close with her grandma, and so she is not all that excited to spent time with her. I did like how that changed, how Amy started to care more about her grandmother and how they then got closer. It was cute. With bonding over painting and art. So yes, I liked that a whole lot. But I did also feel like there was too little of it, with how short the book was. I would not have minded more family time. As I adored it.

Amy has a love for art. She loves drawing, mostly on her tablet, as she can then erase more easily. She used to draw more freely when she was younger. She was more creative then, drawing more fantasy and magical creatures. Now she's trying to be more grown up, and it's not as easy to draw for her. We get to know a little about her life, like her best friend Diego. I liked him too. They had been best of friends since they were small. Diego is in this book way too little, though. But I very much adored their easy friendship.

This book is about the week Amy has to spend with her Lao Lao. Her grandma encourages her to draw more, to show her what she's working on. While putting her stuff in the guest room, she comes across a paintbrush that looks different. She thinks she broke it. But when she puts the ends together, it becomes whole. Like magic. Which Amy does not really believe in. Still. She then uses this paintbrush to draw like her grandma told her to. So she draws her old imaginary friend, Luna. A mythical and magical creature.

And then he is suddenly alive. In her bedroom. Full sized and talking. I liked this twist, as it was pretty cute. I loved how her imaginary friend came to life. As you can see, he is on the cover. And Luna is truly beautiful. But this magical paintbrush is no easy thing. It's fully complicated. Especially when something else comes alive too, in a different part of the world. We get to read from the point of view of this young man. The villain, I suppose. I did not like him one bit. But he was also a bad villain, ha. Not at all scary.

I'm not going to say much more about this book. The story was so easy to read and I kind of wish it had been more complicated, haha. But it was a fan story even so. I loved how Amy and Luna became close. How Luna remembered being her imaginary friend for all those years. How quickly they bonded. It was cute. But yeah. There was a villain, who also wanted the magical paintbrush. It was a little silly at times, yet interesting too. And I really did enjoy reading this book. I only wish there had been a little more of it.

Thank you so much to PRH International for gifting me this free book to read as an eARC via Edelweiss. I'm so glad that I was able to read this story. While I did not fully love it, I found The Magic Paintbrush to be all kinds of magical. The story was sweet. A little dangerous at times for kids, which I liked. The family relationship was wonderful. And the artwork was truly stunning. I loved what was included in the book. It was just as pretty as the cover. I think you should all give this one a try. I'm glad that I read this cute story.

Goodreads - Blackwells - Amazon US - Amazon UK

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