Dragon Brush, a Chinese folktale, tells the story of Bing-Wen, a poor boy with a big imagination and a love of drawing. With the dirt as his canvas and a stick as his paintbrush, Bing-Wen loves to draw whimsical dragons. When Bing-Wen stops to help an old lady whose cart has toppled over, the woman rewards his kindness by giving him a magical gift: a paintbrush made from Dragon's whiskers. With this brush, Bing-Wen discovers that he can paint in color anywhere, and when he does this, the things he paints become real. The cruel emperor hears of this miraculous gift and mandates that Bing-Wen draw only for him. But being a clever boy, Bing-Wen figures out a way to draw things that will trap the emperor and set Bing-Wen and the town folks free from his oppressive rule.
How Kids Play Within This Story
Readers help Bing-Wen to create art by swiping their fingers over the area where the boy has drawn. When they do, they uncover wondrous drawings that shimmer into being as the imagined things become real. This involvement empowers kids by making them a part of the story. Some of the drawings, like a violent storm, erupts off the page as waves churn, lightning flashes, and raindrops pounding down on the screen.
Kids tap and tilt to make other interactions happen on the pages filled with illustrations that are part paper cutouts and part drawings. Many of the illustration turn into mini-videos, such as having Bing-Wen run across the screen.
Painting Activity Encourages Creative Expression
Dragon Brush also contains a clever hunting game where pots of magical paint are hidden within the illustrations. At the end of the book, kids find a drawing activity where they can use the found magical paint pots to create drawings that shimmer. Some paints contain scales (for drawing dragons), while others sparkle and change color as you draw. These iridescent drawings can be saved to your device's photos for sharing.
A Magical Book
Dragon Brush's moral about how wit and cleverness can overcome oppressive power is skillfully delivered in this book app. While the words don't highlight as read, they are delivered by Matt Berninger, a supremely talented narrator whose mellifluous voice creates a vocal hug. With gorgeous visuals and ingenious interactions that sweep the reader into story to create the magical paintings, Dragon Brush shines brightly in the company of the very best book apps for children.
Dragon Brush is a book app for all children. It will resonate with children who love to draw, by offering both the in-book drawings and the end-of-the-book painting activity.
This Dragon Brush app review was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.