Saturday, March 27, 2021
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 , 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
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
GRANDPA ACROSS THE OCEAN
Author: Hyewon Yum
Illustrator: Hyewon Yum
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.)