Have you ever gotten one of these on a homework assignment or a project? What does it make you do? Does it make you jump up and down? Does it make you wave it all around? Does it make you scream at the top of your lungs and charge down the street full-speed ahead with your eyes shut tight?
What? It’s no longer the 70s and you can’t do that kind of stuff anymore, or they’ll medicate you? Sorry, I forgot.
Well, have you noticed that sheriff’s deputies wear them on their chests and it makes them walk with their chests puffed out?
Well, these days when you get a star, you can wear it on the internet and puff yourself out for all to see like I’m about to do here on account of my book, BRUSH OF THE GODS, which isn’t out yet, got its first STARRED REVIEW today!!!! Woooohoooo! Hoooray!
When you’re an author, getting a starred review is like getting a star on your book report. Only you wrote the thing that kids will be doing book reports on. Ooh. That means if it weren’t for authors, you wouldn’t have any book reports to do. You’d all be sitting around the fire bustin’ one another’s heads.
Here’s Kirkus’s starred review, emailed to me by my publisher:
«BRUSH OF THE GODS
Author: Lenore Look
Illustrator: Meilo SoReview Issue Date: May 1, 2013
Online Publish Date: April 3, 2013
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random
Price ( Hardcover ): $17.99
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-375-87001-9
Category: Picture Books
This is my first work of historical fiction. I’d never heard of Wu Daozi (689-759?), China’s most famous painter, until I ran across his name while researching something else. But in China, children know him like we know Michaelangelo in the west. And they also know that he never died, he merely walked into his last painting and disappeared. When I was in China last year, the mere mention of his name inspired awe and lectures from complete strangers as though they knew him personally and had just come from watching him at work.
Here are a few pages of the F&G (Folded and Gathered unbound book), a k a galley proofs: The original F&G shows “Paintbrush,” which was later corrected to “Brush,” as Wu Daozi did not use a paintbrush, per se, but a calligraphy brush. And brush has another meaning that I wanted to convey — that of being “touched.”The story begins here:He was an orphan in ancient China, raised and taught by monks in the monastery:
He first noticed movement in the smallest thing he painted:Meilo So’s art is so wonderful. It builds a visual crescendo from the simplicity of his boyhood to the struggle in his early years . . . to his development in his middle years:to the spectacular, long-awaited masterpiece at the end of his life:I’ll stop there.
I don’t want to spoil the ending for you.
Now I’m going to digress again.
I jot writing advice to myself in my journal all the time. This is so I won’t forget why I write, or how to write, or what makes good writing. Here’s the advice that I try to follow with every book:
“Make it all humanity and heart. A sense of mystery and wonder. Put the reader on the edge of weeping as soon as they read the first words.”
I don’t know if I will ever accomplished this rather ambitious goal, but when I saw Meilo So’s gift to this story, I wept.
Thank you, Meilo So. Thank you for the humanity, heart, mystery and wonder. Thank you for putting it all together.
And thank you, Kirkus, for the star!
The book will be released in June.