Friday, July 23, 2021

Jacksonville.com/The Florida Times-Union

"I Am a Bird"

Author: Hope Lim

Illustrator: Hyewon Yum

Candlewick Press, $16.99; ages 4 to 6

“I Am a Bird” tells the story of a girl who loves to make “ca-caw” sounds as she rides on the back of her father’s bike. This simple joy entertains the girl and causes people to smile and wave. Well, almost everyone.

“I see a woman with a blue coat and a big bag. She is walking very fast. She does not wave. She does not smile. The next morning, I see her again with the same blue coat, the same big bag. I do not smile. I do not wave.”

Each day, the girl does her bird calls until she spots the unresponsive woman in the distance. Eventually, she hides behind her father’s back when they approach the stranger.

“Daddy, I don’t like her.”

“She’s just a lady taking a walk.”

But what if she’s not?

Eventually comes a morning when the girl doesn’t see the lady walking. Instead, they spot her in the park. Her big bag is on the ground, and it’s open. When the bike approaches, the girl hears “chee, chee, chee.”


The girl realizes the lady is singing a song to the birds that have gathered. One even lands on the lady’s outstretched hand. What a charming sight.

“I turn and look until she sees me. I smile and wave. Ca-caw!"

"Chee, chee, chee.”

The simple premise of this debut picture book by Hope Lim offers a story that encourages young readers to reach out, even when differences seem intimidating. An unsmiling face could be a simple bird call away from a beaming expression of understanding. The detailed illustrations by Hyewon Yum add to the warm tone. Yum is an accomplished artist who writes and illustrates her own books, including “Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten,” which earned her the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award.

 https://www.jacksonville.com/story/entertainment/books/2021/07/18/read-all-it-i-am-bird-encourages-kids-reach-out/7954381002/

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

STARRED REVIEW IN SHELF AWARENESS FOR READERS!

 

Not Little

by Maya Myers, illus. by Hyewon Yum

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Small and little do not mean the same thing. Ask the spunky protagonist of debut author Maya Myers's Not Little. Sure, she'll admit, "I am the smallest person in my family." And add, "Even my name is small: Dot." But whether at rest or play, in the kitchen or outside, Dot is mighty capable. Author/illustrator Hyewon Yum (Saturday Is Swimming Day) makes delightfully, whimsically certain that Dot takes up plenty of energetic space with her vibrant personality and independent tenacity.

Dot is "the smallest person in [her] class." Wherever she goes she finds she must prove again and again, "I may be small, but I'm not little." And then a new boy appears at school. What Dot instantly notices is that Sam "might even be smaller" than she is. She attempts to sidle up to him to compare heights but doesn't want to frighten him. In the lunchroom, however, she proves plenty scary when a lunchroom bully tries "mean boy" tactics on innocent Sam. Suddenly, she might be "the biggest kid [Sam's] ever met," especially when it comes to standing tall against adversity.

Myers clearly channels her elementary school teaching experience in creating Dot and Sam's recognizable exchanges about unfamiliar classrooms and playgrounds, tiptoeing through social dynamics and navigating new relationships. Yum's enchanting color-pencil illustrations elevate Myers's text with ingenious visual enhancements. On every page, Yum includes diverse faces: the opening spread shows Dot's family with parents and grandparents of ethnically different backgrounds. She also imbues characters with energy and motion and her ample use of white space allows them to take center stage. By book's end, Dot proves her whole small body has a mighty big voice that will be heard. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Discover: Dot, the delightful protagonist, might be small, but certainly not little as she takes on doubters and even a bully in this charming picture book.

Friday, July 2, 2021

WSJ review

 


Illustration by Hyewon Yum from ‘Not Little.’

PHOTO: COURTESY OF HOLIDAY HOUSE PUBLISHING, INC., ILLUSTRATIONS COPYRIGHT 2021 BY HYEWON YUM
  • TEXT

When you are a child, it is irksome when adults mistake you for being younger than you are. It’s even more galling if you are a child of small stature, for it may be your misfortune, as it is for the heroine of “Not Little” (Neal Porter, 38 pages, $18.99), to be taken as some kind of infant. “People look at me and ask if I’m in preschool,” the girl, Dot, complains in Maya Myers’s lively and understanding text. “At restaurants, they laugh when I order from the grown-up menu.” In Hyewon Yum’s colorful and expressive illustrations, we see why Dot says she’s small but not little: She’s brimming with vigor and personality.

One day at school there’s a newcomer named Sam, and he’s even smaller than Dot. A school bully takes note. In the cafeteria, the mean boy looks at Sam’s lunch: “That must be baby food.” Outraged, Dot intervenes in such a forceful way that she silences the place. In the aftermath, readers ages 4 to 8 see the bully taken aside by a teacher (turns out that he’s pretty small, too) and the start of a new friendship for two children who are emphatically not little.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Hornbook review

 Grandpa Across the Ocean 

by Hyewon Yum; illus. by the author 

Preschool Abrams 40 pp. 

4/21 978-1-4197-4225-5 $16.99 

e-book ed. 978-1-64700-312-8 $15.29

 

A young Korean American boy travels across the ocean to visit his grandfather in South Korea. Everything is strange there. “It smells strange. It sounds strange.” Grandpa speaks an unfamiliar language and eats food that the child doesn’t want to eat. The boy is not happy. “Grandpa’s house is the most boring place on earth!” But some time spent together proves him wrong. Grandpa laughs when watching cartoons and loves chocolate ice cream. He’s a great singer, and also a troublemaker—just like his grandson! Now, everything is familiar. The child can understand Grandpa’s language and eat Grandpa’s food. And he can’t wait to be back next summer. In this sweet and funny story, Yum (Saturday Is Swimming Day, rev. 7/18I Am a Bird, rev. 1/21explores the grandparent-grandchild relationship and shows how barriers of language, culture, distance, and age are overcome through the creation of shared memories and finding commonality. The straightforward text is easily accessible, and the colored-pencil illustrations are bright and vibrant. Faithful representations of street scenes and food culture in South Korea invite readers from the same background to connect personally with the visual narrative, while allowing others to experience something new. The front and back endpapers also provide a wealth of detail, making a visual summary of the story.

Friday, May 28, 2021

PW review

 


Not Little from Shelf Awareness

 

Not Little by Maya Myers, illus. by Hyewon Yum (Neal Porter/Holiday House, $18.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 3-7, 9780823446193, July 6, 2021)

Small and little do not mean the same thing. Ask the spunky protagonist of debut author Maya Myers's Not Little. Sure, she'll admit, "I am the smallest person in my family." And add, "Even my name is small: Dot." But whether at rest or play, in the kitchen or outside, Dot is mighty capable. Author/illustrator Hyewon Yum (Saturday Is Swimming Day) makes delightfully, whimsically certain that Dot takes up plenty of energetic space with her vibrant personality and independent tenacity.

Dot is "the smallest person in [her] class." At the door of her classroom, as all the other kids look on, she must insist to their elementary teacher that she's actually not in preschool, demonstrating her knowledge of square roots, world capitals and space travel. Wherever she goes, however, she finds she must prove again and again, "I may be small, but I'm not little." At the library, her check-out pile is taller than she is. She orders from the grown-up menu at restaurants. She eschews grocery store stickers because, as she repeats yet again, she's not little.

And then a new boy appears at school. What Dot instantly notices is that Sam "might even be smaller" than she is. She attempts to sidle up to him to compare heights but doesn't want to frighten him. In the lunchroom, however, she proves plenty scary when a lunchroom bully tries his "mean boy" tactics on innocent Sam. Suddenly, she just might be "the biggest kid [Sam's] ever met," especially when it comes to standing tall against adversity.

Myers clearly channels her elementary school teaching experience in empathetically creating Dot and Sam's recognizable exchanges about unfamiliar classrooms and playgrounds, tiptoeing through social dynamics and navigating new relationships. Yum's enchanting color-pencil illustrations elevate Myers's text with ingenious visual enhancements. On every page, Yum includes diverse faces, starting with Dot's own family: the opening spread suggests parents and grandparents of ethnically different backgrounds, the four children presented in various hues. She also imbues all characters with energy and motion--their expressions include winking, smirking and knowing smiles; her ample use of white space allows for the colorful characters to take center stage. Dot is especially charmingly memorable, literally wearing her name with her white polka-dotted orange shirt, her purple-dotted pink leggings and even her green-dotted yellow lunchbox. Most significantly, Yum also adds to Dot's essential wardrobe a bright red neckerchief that just might resemble a superhero cape. By book's end, Dot proves her whole small body has a mighty big voice that will be heard. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Hyewon Yum's ingenious artistry amplifies Maya Myers's delightful Dot, who might be small, but certainly not little as she takes on doubters and even a bully to get her big voice heard.


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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

SLJ review star#2

YUM, Hyewon. Grandpa Across the Ocean.

illus. by Hyewon Yum. 40p. Abrams. Apr. 2021. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781419742255. 

PreS-Gr 1–For all children everywhere, the unfamiliar is hard. When the young narrator of this sweet picture book first gets to South Korea, or the “other side of the ocean,” everything seems strange to him, including his grandfather. They can’t understand each other’s language and the house is “the most boring place on earth,” until the young boy accidentally knocks over one of his grandfather’s beloved potted orchids. Afraid of getting in trouble, the boy cowers, only to find that the old gentleman is ready to comfort him with peaches and a toy car. From then on, the two are inseparable. They enjoy walks in town, ice cream cones, and trips to the beach. By the end of the story, “Now where Grandpas lives, it smells familiar. It sounds familiar. And it feels like home.” Young readers will be comforted and entertained by the evolution of the relationship between the boy and his grandfather, as he goes from a stranger to “a troublemaker. Just like me.” Yum’s witty, brief text perfectly and humorously complements her simple but expressive illustrations. The circumstances will resonate for children who have family far away. VERDICT. A great choice for picture book collections, this will be treasured by families preparing their young ones for a visit with relatives.

 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Kirkus review for NOT LITTLE

 NOT LITTLE 

Author: Maya Myers
Illustrator: Hyewon Yum

Review Issue Date: June 1, 2021
Online Publish Date: May 19, 2021
Publisher:Neal Porter/Holiday House
Pages: 40
Price ( Hardcover ): $18.99
Publication Date: July 6, 2021
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-8234-4619-3
Section: Children's
A small girl makes a big difference.
“I may be small, but I’m not little,” Dot informs readers, chafing at others’ attitudes toward her. She presents as a child of color with light-brown skin and dark hair, which Yum cleverly styles in a bun on top of her head to add some height in the energetic colored-pencil art. She is the smallest person in her interracial family and the smallest person in her class—until Sam arrives. “He might even be smaller than I am,” thinks Dot when the teacher introduces him to the class. He appears to be of Asian descent, and he seems nervous at his new school. Sadly, it turns out his anxiety is well founded when “the mean boy,” a much-taller White boy, picks on him in the cafeteria. Dot intercedes, using her words to interrupt the bullying and then to defend herself when the mean boy says, “What are you going to do about it, little girl?” Yum is at her expressive best when Dot shifts from an anxiety-ridden state depicted with a bullseye of concentric circles surrounding her to a spread devoid of background as Dot bellows from across the gutter at the boy, “I’M NOT LITTLE!” Sam offers thanks and admiration, not to mention his friendship, to bring the story to a satisfying close.
Sure to be a big hit. (Picture book. 3-6)

Monday, April 26, 2021

Star for Grandpa from PW

 Grandpa Across the Ocean 

Hyewon Yum. Abrams, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4225-5

                                

A Korean American child with short black hair and dot eyes struggles to adjust to South Korea when visiting Grandpa, a bespectacled elderly man. Different customs (“When I say ‘Hi,’/ Grandpa bows”), language barriers (“I can’t quite understand what he says,/ and he can’t hear me well”), and unfamiliar food (“Grandpa eats things I don’t want to eat”) unmoor the child, but an accident soon sets the duo on a path toward understanding (“But with Grandpa, I don’t need to say the word for what I want most./ He already knows”). Charming colored-pencil illustrations are punctuated with a few basic Korean words as the narrator and Grandpa embark on market and beach excursions, and grow closer. Told in a pitch-perfect kid voice with a satisfying narrative arc, Yum’s sweetly comedic picture book will resonate with any reader who has experienced diasporic—or generational—tension with an older relative. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Greater Good magazine

 https://apple.news/ASUf_slgvStGgqju6rpR8bQ


Puddle, by Hyewon Yum

On a rainy day, a boy is upset because he can’t go out to play. He is determined to stay in a bad mood and rejects the idea that he could possibly have fun indoors. But when his mom starts drawing, he can’t help but get curious. He starts to give input, and together they collaborate and create a fun rainy-day scene. They decide to turn their imaginative scene into reality and venture out to play in the rain themselves. This “I’m bored” story encourages creativity and collaboration.

Clever Little Witch, by Muon Thi Van and Hyewon Yum

This fanciful tale is about a big sister, Little Linh, who wants her little brother, Baby Phu, to get lost after he incessantly annoys her. She comes up with a transformative plan to help them get along—but is this clever idea the solution she really hoped for, after all? Clever Little Witch explores the nearly universal experience of sibling conflict and humorously entertains children’s capacity to problem-solve with magical thinking. Children are invited to discover that while siblings can be exasperating at times, their redemptive qualities shine through when you least expect it, and remind you how precious these relationships can be.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

NYT review


 I AM A BIRD

Written by Hope Lim
Illustrated by Hyewon Yum

“I fly like a bird on Daddy’s bike,” the narrator joyfully croons as we watch father and daughter whizz through a coastal, colored-penciled town. “CA-CAW!” she calls, and “the birds sing back.” We smell the sea air and feel the salty breeze. Suddenly she spies “a woman with a blue coat and a big bag … walking very fast,” and clutches her dad’s sweatshirt, as gouache graffiti demons appear on a wall and a graphite shadow joins the gray-haired figure like an evil twin. Yet there she is one day in the park, “whispering a song to the birds!” Lim’s text and Yum’s art soar as the two “see” each other at last.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

WSJ review!


 Paying attention to the small things in life has become something of a national pastime during the pandemic. Bruce Handy honors the quiet fluctuations of childhood days in “The Happiness of a Dog With a Ball in Its Mouth” (Enchanted Lion, 56 pages, $18.95), a picture book with beguiling colored-pencil illustrations by Hyewon Yum. The book toggles back and forth between moments: “The indignity of a cut” on a skinned knee gives way to the satisfying “happiness of a scab.” A little later, we see a child splayed out on a chair, face upturned with exasperation and ennui: “The boredom of nothing to do.” On the facing page, the same child lies spread-eagled and beatific on a picnic blanket: “The happiness of nothing to do.” In topic and rhythm this wonderful book brings to mind Ruth Krauss’s 1952 classic, “A Hole Is to Dig,” illustrated with sturdy, tumbling little children by the young Maurice Sendak. But “The Happiness of a Dog With a Ball in Its Mouth” has a restful and contemplative quality that makes it, this year especially, feel like just the thing for 3- to 8-year-olds and their families.

Monday, March 22, 2021

from Booklist


Grandpa across the Ocean.

By Hyewon Yum. Illus. by the author

Apr. 2021. 42p. Abrams, $16.99 (9781419742255). PreS–Gr. 1 

A little boy is taken “across the ocean” to visit his grandpa in Korea, where everything is unfamiliar. Left alone together, the two appear to have no connection. The boy finds his grandpa’s house boring, so he starts kicking a ball around to entertain himself, which leads to an accident when a flowerpot breaks. This seems to spark an awareness in Grandpa that he needs to interact with his grandson. They both make an effort, and as things improve, it turns out that the two have lots of things in common after all. Yum’s (Lion Needs a Haircut, 2020) cheerful colored-pencil illustrations mirror the text, with facial expressions adding a layer of emotion as the relationship builds toward a happy conclusion. This is a simple story with an important message that young readers and their caregivers will appreciate: take a little time, make a little effort, and all will be well.

Grandpa Across the Ocean review

 The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:

Yum, Hyewon Grandpa Across the Ocean; written and illus. by Hyewon Yum.

Abrams, 2021 [40p]

Trade ed. ISBN 9781419742255 $16.99

E-book ed. ISBN 9781647003128 $15.29

Reviewed from digital galleys    R 3-6 yrs

Our young protagonist and his mother are off for a whole summer’s visit with his grandpa, who lives across the ocean in a place where everything “smells strange.” The visit starts off badly, since the two can’t really communicate and “Grandpa’s house is the most boring place on earth.” Soon, though, the two are connecting; the boy learns some Korean, they discover their commonalities (a love of chocolate and of goofing around on the beach), and by the time the summer ends, Grandpa’s place “feels like home” and the boy can’t wait for next summer. This kind of cross-cultural cross-generational relationship is popping up in picture books more often (Yee’s My Day with Gong Gong, BCCB 11/20, and LĂȘ’s Drawn Together, BCCB 6/18); this version is particularly gentle and patient, allowing a whole summer’s worth of bonding to believably happen while compressing events sufficiently to retain interest. Colored pencil illustrations have an appealing childlike touch in their scrawled textures, and they glow with summery color, with lots of sunny orange and picturesque ocean blues. The boy’s poses tell much of the story, from his initial reluctant dragging behind his mother to his closing all-encompassing hug with Grandpa. Use this to prepare kids for their own visits with faraway grandparents or just to demonstrate how an initially strange place can turn to home. 

 


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Grandpa Across the Ocean review from Kirkus

 


GRANDPA ACROSS THE OCEAN 
Author: Hyewon Yum
Illustrator: Hyewon Yum
Pages: 40
Price ( Hardcover ): $16.99
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-4197-4225-5

A summer spent in Korea with Grandpa provides growth for a little Korean American child.

A little black-haired Asian child wheels a blue suitcase through the city, craning to take in the new sights and sounds of a foreign land. This is where Grandpa lives. “It smells strange. It sounds strange.” With a sad face, the child tries to adjust to this new place, giving a firsthand account of trials suffered. When an accident caused by frustration and boredom surprises both grandfather and grandchild, there is a reckoning of sorts. Guilty feelings on both sides lead to new behaviors. This kid is possibly the same child from Yum’s previous title Puddle (2016), and the theme of overcoming cranky behavior repeats as well. With the same warmhearted care, the child is helped through the adjustment of having a relationship with a loving relative who lives across the ocean. Illustrated with colored pencil, the scenes are light and filled with patience and love. The grandfather is frequently shown at the same eye level as the child, highlighting the importance of physical connection. An effort is made to translate simple Korean words to English, and many will recognize the awkward feeling of understanding a different culture. Hopefully, readers will appreciate the importance of an affectionate relationship between grandparent and grandchild. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 29.8% of actual size.)

A reminder that love and attention can bolster relationships separated by time and distance. (Picture book. 3-8.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Kirkus review

 THE HAPPINESS OF A DOG WITH A BALL IN ITS MOUTH

Happiness offsets harder feelings.

A child with brown skin and puffy brown hair lies asleep. “The slowness of two eyes opening,” reads the text; eyes open, the child rises in cheerful daylight to greetings from two dogs and “the happiness of a new day.” Handy’s exploration of emotions that proceed into happiness is a grab bag. It’s nonlinear (can be opened anywhere); the multiracial cast of characters hold no especial connections with each other; and the prehappiness modes vary between moods and situations. “The fear of leaping. / The happiness of having leapt”—feet on a diving board, then a child excitedly suspended midair above the pool—juxtaposes negative and positive feelings in a fairly traditional manner. Readers will thrill to a spread about peeing and another about the critical difference between hearing no and saying no. However, stillness, distance, and self-sufficiency are pretty neutral; when a bird experiences “The stillness of a perch. / The happiness of flight,” the stillness doesn’t seem inferior, creating a question—what do these juxtapositions mean? Enter Yum’s watercolor-and–colored-pencil illustrations, airy and light, with soft pencil shadings everywhere for comfort. “The self-sufficiency of a cat in the morning. / The happiness of a cat in the afternoon” is mystifying as a pairing of opposites, but Yum’s pale sunlight and cooling shadows—first on a windowsill, then spilling over the blissful cat on the floor—override any conceptual confusion with beauty.

A contemplative exploration, with illustrations that carry readers past puzzlement. (Picture book. 3-6)