The Magic Paintbrush
In this charming children’s book first published in 2004, Brian Seward, puts an imaginative and modern spin on the beloved Chinese folktale of the same name —The Magic Paintbrush. Meet Tony Lee, a ten-year-old student from present day Singapore. Struggling with the boredom and pressure of his studies, he finds his copy of Ma Liang and the Magic Paintbrush and wishes he could discover a magical paintbrush of his own. Like in all good fairytales, Tony’s wish comes true! With a broad sweep, a magic brush transports Tony back hundreds of years, to a southern province in ancient China. Quite suddenly, Tony finds himself dressed like the legendary Ma Liang, with a beautiful phoenix by his side. Realising that the magic brush can bring to life anything he paints, Tony generously offers to paint whatever the villagers need. Chickens, cows, ploughs, rice and all things nice! But wait — there’s danger lurking behind the trees! Sotong and Shrimp, the greedy emperor’s nasty guards, pounce on Tony while his back is turned. What will happen to Tony now? Will the evil emperor use the paintbrush to bring destruction to the land? Will Tony ever get back home in time for his exams? Through the fun text, a clear and strong moral message about friendship, the dangers of using or abusing power, and the value of creativity is presented in this tale. This is a story that will appeal to anyone who appreciates a good read and a hearty laugh. Young readers will be delighted that some of the illustrations are left uncoloured so they can colour them in on their own.
Since 1999, Brian has directed, written and produced on average four professional productions a year as Artistic Director and founder of I Theatre; including Singapore’s first full-length puppet and live action musical, The Magic Paintbrush. The Asian-themed Dancing with Dragons played to rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival 2004, followed by The Rainbow Fish and Under the Dragon Moon in 2007. His first children’s book, The Magic Paintbrush, was published by Marshall Cavendish International in May 2004.