Friday, August 2, 2013

Horn book review



by Hyewon Yum; illus. by the author

Preschool, Primary    Foster/Farrar    40 pp.

8/13    978-0-374-37487-7    $16.99    g

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

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