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Heyer Marilee : Weaving of A Dream


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About the Author

Marilee Heyer lives in California. She earned her B.A. at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and continued her art studies at the San Francisco Institute of Art. To learn more, visit her website at


This is the first picture book by a woman who was previously a commercial and fantasy illustrator; it's a breathtaking debut. Using rich and pure language, Heyer retells an engrossing Chinese folktale about an old woman who weaves exquisite brocades. One day in the marketplace, she sees a painting of a palace so grand she dreams of living in it. After three years of painstaking weaving, she completes a brocade of the painting. When it is blown away by the wind, she sends each of her three sons on a dangerous quest to find it. Heyer's paintings are replete with stunning detail and lavish color. All sorts of luminous, lifelike insects, reptiles, birds and beasts populate every page, and throughout there is a perfect blending of fantasy and reality. Let's hope that this superb book is the first of many. (All ages)

Gr 3 Up The Chinese legend of ``The Chuang Brocade'' is faithfully retold in a volume of exquisite beauty. The story is of a widow who supports her three sons by selling her finely crafted brocades. At the market one day she trades her work for a painting of a lovely palace. Obsessed with the beauty of the scene, she spends three full years copying the painting in a brocade, only to have it snatched away by a wind upon its completion. As she lies grieving, her youngest son, after the two elder ones succumb to greed, searches for the brocade in a quest that leads through fire and ice to a fairy palace on a mountain top. Heyer's 15 illustrations show a masterful artistic technique. From the silken threads of the sumptuous brocade to the tiniest wrinkles in a hand, the photographic realism of a silver necklace, the touchable softness of a fur cuff, the intricate perfection of an Oriental pattern and the fine hairs of a butterfly's wings, each painting offers an experience of sensuous delight. Small red woodcut-like squares featuring animals and birds from the paintings (meant to resemble chops) are placed on each white page of text, adding to the book's attractiveness. Heyer's skillful retelling of the ancient legend and her magnificent illustrations combine to form a book of astonishing beauty. Susan Scheps, Bertram Woods Library, Shaker Heights, Ohio

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