Ash Dresses Her Friends
New Frontier Publishing
I’m always interested to discover new illustrators and authors and thanks to New Frontier Publishing I’m meeting Chinese author/illustrator Fu Wenzheng for the first time.
Having grown up in a temple in China she draws on her childhood experiences in her illustrative style employing an, Ink Wash Painting technique (known also as literati) using just three colours to create her multi-layered images.
Her story is simply told and features a shy, lonely, azure-winged magpie named Ash.
One day Ash finds herself face to face with a sad looking elephant. The reason for his sadness is that he wants a new shirt.
Ash decides to help and from a length of red material she fashions him a wonderfully patterned one.
Before long the news of her skill and generosity has spread and one by one, a whole host of other animals come calling hoping for something colourful from Ash’s material, and she’s happy to oblige.
She’s even willing to use her last tiny piece to create a cosy quilt for a baby snail.
Once the cloth has gone, so too seemingly, have all her friends and Ash is alone once more.
Surely that is no way to treat such a kind-hearted creature? Absolutely not; it’s now time for the animals to acknowledge her generosity …
Symbolising good luck, happiness and joy, red is an auspicious colour in Chinese culture and here the predominance of red in Fu Wenzheng’s illustrations emphasises Ash’s friendship and kindness in sharing what she has with others, as well as creating striking images throughout.