An enormously talented Chinese painter, born in 1975, is the subject of this profusely illustrated biography. ""Yani"" is especially fortunate in her father, also an artist, who firmly believed (despite tradition) that Yani's art should be allowed to develop naturally, with minimal instruction and no classical exercises such as copying others' work. From her first promising scribbles at two, he provided the materials she needed; by the time she was three, she was recognized as a prodigy--a judgment that the beguiling art so beautifully reproduced here fully justifies. At six, her work was exhibited in Europe; she had a one-person show in 1989 at the Smithsonian. The authors touch lightly on Yani's apparently privileged background, focusing on the evolution of her art in response to her increasing skill, maturing interests, and enriching experiences (including travel) deliberately provided by her father. Dimensions and Yani's age at the time of painting are cited for each picture reproduced (though not locations--were some of the thousands of paintings sold? Is Yani also a commercial success?); two foldouts allow a better view of more extensive works; photos show the happy, intent girl at work at many ages; a detailed appendix describes the tools and techniques of the traditional style that Yani adapts to her highly individual work. A handsome book--and a fascinating, lucidly written portrait of a uniquely creative artist. Glossary; maps; index.