Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Friday, August 2, 2013
by Hyewon Yum; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary Foster/Farrar 40 pp.
A young girl describes her home in terms of her family’s history, starting with, “This is the house where my grandparents arrived from far away with just two suitcases in hand.” The girl associates tangible aspects of the house and neighborhood (a tree, the street, the stairs) with meaningful kid-milestones and memories such as her mother learning to walk on the sidewalk outside the building. Time passes; Mom leaves for college, then returns “with the boyfriend who would be my father.” The young couple moves in, and new memories and milestones are celebrated, but some things remain constant (“This is the street where I learned to walk, just like my mom”). Yum’s rosy-cheeked, smiling characters and bright, expressive mixed-media illustrations (line and watercolor wash with homey smudges of crayon or pastel), some of which are set up in picture frames to reinforce the family-history theme, offer visual warmth to complement the comfortingly circular narrative arc. This is an immigrant tale, a celebration of family, a loving ode to place, and a study of the passage of time, all wrapped in a simply phrased narrative perfect for parental sharing and child commentary. claire e. gross
This Is Our House.
Yum, Hyewon (Author) , Yum, Hyewon (Illustrator)
Aug 2013. 40 p. Farrar/Frances Foster, hardcover, $16.99. (9780374374877).
Yum’s latest resembles a photo album and follows a little girl offering up a historical tour of the house she
shares with her parents, grandparents, and cat. She starts at the beginning, when her mother’s parents
“arrived from far away with just two suitcases in hand.” On one side of the spread (here and throughout
the book) is a watercolor framed like a photograph; the other side reveals a more complete view from the
same time period. The story continues, inside and in front of the two-story attached home, through her
mother’s childhood, departure for college, and return with “the boyfriend who would be my father.” Yum
depicts the girl’s grandparents as warm and welcoming, even as nervous new parents, and the girl’s
parents convey the same loving concern for their child. Some of the “framed” images pop up again on
walls in later pages, suggesting how the young narrator learned the history she’s relaying. Even before the
baby sibling is introduced on the last spread, this is a sweet tribute to continuity and togetherness.
— Abby Nolan