The 2012 CYBILS award finalists have been announced and this adorable storybook app has made the cut. It is included with four other titles, for the final round of consideration for this prestigious literary award. After reading this title, you won't have a hard time seeing why it has been so well-regarded by critics. The story has a distinctly Eastern in feel, but told in a way that is very accessible to a Western audience.
The main character is a little rabbit boy named Bing-Wen who loves to paint. But his family is too poor to afford paper and pencils, so Bing-Wen draws in the sand. One day he helps a pedlar woman and as a reward she gives him a magic paintbrush. When Bing-Wen tries it out, he discovers that everything he draws comes to life. When the lazy & arrogant Emperor finds out about Bing-Wen's magic paintbrush, he orders him to paint a gold statue in his honor. When Bing-Wen refuses, he is thrown in the dungeon until he thinks up an inventive way to foil the Emperor's plans.
Fun enhancements are pitch perfect for the plot, even when they aren't entirely story related. The charming illustrations come to life and will win over both young and old readers alike. This is definitely a book to share with a child. Adults will especially appreciate the subtle humor and well-crafted storytelling. Kids will love the interactivity, which is entertaining, but paced so well that it never distracts from reading comprehension. There is also a unique drawing page for creative play.
Overall, this is a stellar new title. As a digital app, it is also solidly made, with useful navigation settings and very polished narration (however, it does not highlight as narrated). Readers of all ages will fall in love with little Bing-Wen and his magical story. Highly Recommended!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
John Solimine/Andy Hullinger
Small Planet Digital
12 - 20 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 4 - 9
Dragon Brush is a beautiful and engaging storybook app based on a traditional Chinese folktale, featuring narration and music from members of the acclaimed band The National! Brought to you by the award-winning Small Planet Digital, Dragon Brush was created by John Solimine and Andy Hullinger.
Follow the irresistible adventures of Bing-Wen, a young boy who loves to paint. When given a magical brush that makes drawings come to life, Bing-Wen must use his art and his wits to outsmart the greedy Emperor. Readers can:
*Help Bing-Wen’s drawings come magically to life
*Create their own drawings with Dragon Paint
*Find special ink pots in the story and add them to Dragaon Paint
*Discover interactive elements and tap, swipe, or tilt on every page