Friday, May 25, 2012

A Third star came from Horn Book

Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! [HORN BOOK]
by Hyewon Yum; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Foster/Farrar    40 pp.
7/12    978-0-374-35004-8    $16.99    g

“Mom, wake up!” In the art, a young boy looms large, while his mom appears small and kind of blue (as in “sad,” though she’s also pale blue from head to toe). Turns out she’s worried. Did she forget to pack his school supplies? “I have my crayons and markers…I’m all set!” Will he be late for school? “We can run!” Youngsters will giggle when she asks, “Will you be okay…you’re still so little”—the illustration shows a big, robust boy and his tiny mom, feet dangling as he pulls her behind him. Kids will get right away that the roles are reversed and that this is mightily amusing. The boy sounds exactly like a parent, telling his mom, “I like to make new friends…and you’ll make new friends, too.” Sure enough, he greets a little girl, and their moms make friends, too. Blue no more, Mom now sports a cheery yellow shirt and pink cheeks. Yum’s (Last Night, rev. 1/09; The Twins’ Blanket, rev. 9/11) breezy illustrations are spot on, the mom’s baby-boy-blue tint aptly reflecting the story’s small-child anxiety. Readers will love the last page, boy and mom normal-size at day’s end—until, that is, he inquires about taking the school bus. jennifer m. brabander

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mom, it's my first day of Kindergarten!

Today, I got a copy of Advance Readers' edition.

Another star from Publishers Weekly

Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten!
Hyewon Yum. FSG/Foster, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-35004-8
Anxieties can make anyone feel small and blue, and that’s exactly how Yum (The Twins’ Blanket) portrays a worried mother whose son is readying for his first day of kindergarten. “What if you don’t have time to finish your sandwich at lunch?” she asks, barely tall enough to peer her blueberry-tinged face over the edge of the table at her full-size son, who clearly can’t wait for the big day to start. “We don’t know anyone here. I miss your old teachers and your friends,” she says later, looking forlorn and tiny at the front steps of the school, which her son climbs with the canny look of a seasoned pro. Is Mom really as worried as she looks—or is the boy projecting his fears onto her in order to maintain his persona as a confident “big boy”? Although some readers may suspect the latter—especially when the boy has his own brief blue period at the kindergarten threshold—Yum isn’t telling. And therein lies the joy of this inventively styled, deeply empathic book. Ages 4–7. Agent: Sean McCarthy, Sheldon Fogelman Agency. (July)

Friday, May 4, 2012


Yum, known for using text and artwork to explore emotions (There Are No Scary Wolves, 2010, etc.), looks at the first day of school from two points of view—that of a little boy who is more than ready and a nervous mother not quite prepared to let him go.

The author’s watercolors are the true standout here, the colors and relative sizes of the characters masterfully conveying their emotions—many spreads could stand on their own without the text at all. Readers first see the pair when the 5-year-old shakes his mother awake on the first day of school; he is huge and pink-faced, towering over his tiny mother, who is blue-faced and cowering in the bed. As the text enumerates her worries (that he won’t have time to eat, she forgot some vital supply, he’ll be late, he’ll get lost, he won’t have any friends), the exuberant boy’s facial expressions, body language and oral responses counter her fears…until they reach his classroom door, and their sizes and colors flip. He quickly gets over it and has a great day at school, greeting his blue-toned mother exuberantly at dismissal, and the two, regular sizes and colors again now that they have survived the day, reunite and share the day’s events.

Yum has perfectly captured the emotional ups and downs of both parent and child in a visually expressive work that will shore up adults as they send their children off on that momentous day. (Picture book. 4-7, adult)