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This review is from: The Old Man Mad About Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai (Hardcover)
I've just finished reading 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai' by Francois Place, and I have to say that it is one of the most charming books I've read in a long while. It is a book for young readers, but it is such a lovely volume that I think adults will also find it enchanting... I certainly did. It tells the story of Tojiro, a nine year old orphan who sells rice cakes in nineteenth century Edo, and his relationship with one of his customers, a grumpy old artist... Hokusai. Hokusai takes a shine to the boy, who he affectionately refers to as 'Sparrow,' and soon takes him on as his assistant. The artist teaches him to read, introduces him to the process of woodblock printing, and little Sparrow learns all about Hokusai's earlier works. The relationship between artist and pupil is most endearing and there is a great deal of humour and warmth in the text. On each and every page there is an illustration... either a reproduction of one of Hokusai's designs (when it is relevant to the text), or one of Place's fantastic sketches of Hokusai and his little apprentice or of nineteenth century Edo and its colourful inhabitants. If you want to introduce a young reader, or an adult beginner for that matter, to Japanese prints then this is the book to do it with.