Monday, June 27, 2022
Lion Needs a Shot.
By Hyewon Yum. Illus. by the author
May 2022. 40p. Abrams, $16.99 (9781419748295). PreS–Gr. 1
In this charming follow-up to Lion Needs a Haircut (2020), Daddy Lion hesitantly tells cubs Luka and Lulu that it’s time to visit the doctor for a checkup. Luka, as the older sibling, explains what Lulu can expect during her first visit—having the doctor listen to her heart with stethoscope, getting measured, and (gulp!) getting a shot. Their appointment goes smoothly until Dr. Brown arrives with their shots, triggering Luka’s own fear and thoughts of escape, until he remembers he needs to be brave for Lulu. He takes his shot like a champ, and Lulu models his behavior, both of them earning stickers from Dr. Brown for being such good patients. Yum’s sweet illustrations are softly rendered in colored pencils, and their childlike quality is a perfect match for the story. It strikes a reassuring tone for little ones anxious about doctor visits or getting shots (“They keep you from getting sick! . . . [And] you get a really nice sticker.”), while also demonstrating a loving sibling relationship.
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
«SOMETIMES I GRUMBLESQUINCH by Rachel Vail; illus. by Hyewon Yum
40p. Scholastic. Jul. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338751161
PreS-Gr 2–Self-described “really nice kid” Katie Honors always aims to please. Polite, well-behaved, and flexible, she earns compliments from her parents: “Katie is such a pleasure.” The reality beneath this veneer of perfection, of course, is a range of emotions, positive and negative. Her toddler brother Chuck has a knack for provoking her in small ways that her mother and father either overlook or minimize with platitudes: “You don’t mind, do you?” and “Chuck loves you!” Since her appearance as the protagonist of Vail’s Sometimes I’m Bombaloo, Katie has learned to suppress her feelings by “grumblesquinching,” her idiosyncratic term for bottling up anger and sadness inside. After her pent-up frustration finally explodes in the form of a tantrum, she fears that she has irreparably damaged her parents’ opinion of her. To her relief, her mother responds not with judgment but with warm understanding—she is accepted, anger and all. Vail creates a strikingly honest portrait of family relationships, sensitively probing the all-too-common adult habit of using praise to avoid uncomfortable but necessary emotional dialogue. Yum’s bright, expressive colored pencil drawings cleverly externalize the progression of Katie’s emotional response: as she loses her composure, strands of her hair begin to float up into sinister tentacles, and the image on her shirt subtly shifts from a rainbow to a storm cloud. VERDICT This tender, insightful exploration of childhood emotion and respectful parenting is an important purchase for all collections.
Thursday, June 9, 2022
Luli and the Language of Tea
by Andrea Wang; illus. by Hyewon Yum Preschool Porter/Holiday 40 pp. g
5/22 978-0-8234-4614-8 $18.99
While adults attend an ESL class, their children go to a playroom next door. The room is full but quiet; no one speaks the same language, and all the kids play separately. On a recent visit, young Luli had drawn a picture about an idea she had, and today her backpack holds a thermos, a teapot, a tea canister, and some teacups. As Miss Hirokane watches, Luli puts some tea leaves in the pot and pours in the “steaming hot” water, her tongue sticking out in careful concentration. She calls “cha!” (Chinese for tea), and everyone responds with their own words for tea (each word is spelled out and printed phonetically). All gather at the table, where Luli pours tea into cups that get passed around. When there isn’t enough left for herself, the kids pass her empty cup around, each pouring in a little tea from their own. After tea it’s time for cookies, and with that, “the playroom was no longer quiet.” Tea drinking everywhere celebrates community and togetherness; Wang (Watercress rev. 3/21) has cleverly re-created (and diversified) that ritual in a microcosm. Yum’s (Saturday Is Swimming Day, rev. 7/18) overhead view of the table shows smiling faces and varied skin tones, and her illustrations make clear that the Asian teacups with no handles are perfect for small hands— and safe (if it’s cool enough to hold, it’s cool enough to drink). An appended note describes tea drinking in the ten countries represented, including Iran, Kenya, and Chile, while teacups from each country decorate the endpapers. JENNIFER M. BRABANDER
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
LULI AND THE LANGUAGE OF TEA
Author: Andrea Wang
Illustrator: Hyewon Yum
Review Issue Date: June 15, 2022
Online Publish Date: May 25, 2022
Publisher:Neal Porter/Holiday House
Price ( Hardcover ): $18.99
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-8234-4614-8
A group of children find commonality and togetherness through tea.
While a diverse group of grown-ups attend English as a second language class, young ones attend free child care next door. Like the adults, no one speaks English, and “all around the room, children played alone.” However, Luli, who is cued as Chinese, has a plan to get everyone to play together. Today, she’s brought a full tea set. When the table is set and Luli calls out in Chinese, “Chá,” “all around the room, heads popped up.” In a series of panels, children chime back in Russian, Hindi, Turkish, Persian, Arabic, Spanish, German, Swahili, and Portuguese. The word for tea sounds quite similar across languages, and soon enough each child grabs a seat at the table to share a warm cup of tea. Shy smiles lead to full hearts. Yum’s colored-pencil illustrations work alongside Wang’s simple, rhythmic text to highlight the concepts of uniqueness and similarity. Gentle, repeated refrains like “all around the room/table” and measured moments of tea cups passed back and forth create beats of unity and circularity. Languages are presented in their script with romanization/transliteration for pronunciation. Perspectives and layouts vary for a dynamic read and give space to each child and their individuality. Endpapers showcase teacup designs from the 10 countries highlighted; in an author’s note, Wang describes the childhood experience that inspired the book. (This book was reviewed digitally.)
A warming and gentle celebration of connection. (information on the countries depicted) (Picture book. 3-7)
Friday, May 6, 2022
SOMETIMES I GRUMBLESQUINCH[STARRED REVIEW!]
Author: Rachel Vail
Illustrator: Hyewon Yum
Review Issue Date: June 1, 2022
Online Publish Date: May 11, 2022
Price ( Hardcover ): $18.99
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-338-75116-1
Katie is a girl who is always nice, polite, and agreeable—well, almost always.
Everyone says that Katie, who has straight dark hair, dot eyes, and a big curve of a smile, is a pleasure. She’s a good sport, helps with her little brother, Chuck, and makes her parents proud. But she has a secret: Sometimes she grumblesquinches. That’s when “my insides tighten and I think mean thoughts.” It’s when she wishes her brother didn’t wake her up or take her seat. It’s when she wishes she didn’t have a little brother at all. Even when Chuck puts his hand right into her bowl of cereal, she grumblesquinches her bad feelings down. Katie’s mother, who also has straight dark hair, and her father, who has a ruddy complexion and brown hair, think Chuck is just being adorable. But when Chuck tries to hug her with his milky hands and buttery face, ruining her new rainbow shirt, her feelings cannot be grumblesquinched any longer, and she explodes: “Chuck ruins everything!” Her pent-up anger pours out, and then Katie is scared. What if her parents don’t think she’s a pleasure anymore? Yum’s sweet colored-pencil illustrations perfectly convey Katie’s personality and emotional landscape and deftly work with the text to portray the complexities of her inner life. Readers who can relate will be reassured by the loving response from Katie’s mother. (This book was reviewed digitally.)
Sensitive and emotionally true, a comforting portrayal of big emotions. (author's and illustrator's notes) (Picture book. 4-8)
Friday, March 18, 2022
Luli and the Language of Tea
Andrea Wang, illus. by Hyewon Yum. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4614-8Wang (Watercress) brings a group of children together via a beloved beverage in this warming picture book. After noticing the students in her ESL class all playing alone, young Luli draws a picture of the group sitting together, then makes her plan a reality during the next class session. After setting up “a thermos, a canister, stacks of cups, and a fat bellied teapot” on a classroom table, Luli prepares hot tea, then beckons her fellow classmates in Chinese: “Chá!” One by one, the students respond in their own languages—Arabic, German, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, and Turkish, with each response presented in the language’s script alongside an English transliteration. Soon, the table is full. All fluent in the language of tea, the kids know exactly how to ensure that each person has a warm cup in their hands, then, as a group, enjoy Luli’s new favorite English word. Yum’s (Grandpa Across the Ocean) colored pencil illustrations portray dot-eyed children with a variety of skin tones and hair textures; a bird’s-eye view emphasizes the community that accompanies sharing a cup of tea. Back matter includes an author’s note and details about the history of tea drinking. Age 3–7.
MYERS, Maya. Not Little. illus. by Hyewon Yum. 40p. Holiday House/Neal Porter. Jul. 2021. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823446193.
K-Gr 2–Dot, a girl with light brown skin and a big bun on her head, is well aware that her stature is on the small side. In fact, she’s the tiniest one in her interracial family, as well as in her class. She feels insulted when she goes places and, “People look at me and ask me if I’m in preschool. Then I tell them that the square root of sixty-four is eight, or that Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, or that my favorite Mars rover is Curiosity. I’m not little.” At school, filled with a diverse student body, a new boy has arrived. Dot thinks he may possibly be smaller than she is, but she hasn’t had the opportunity to find out for sure. The new boy, who is possibly of Asian descent, has bigger problems, though---a bully! Dot is not having it and sets out to prove her size once and for all. The charming illustrations are done in colored pencil on a white background; Yum’s energetic art reflects the protagonist it portrays. “Though she be but little, she be fierce,” indeed. VERDICT A recommended purchase for libraries where Patty Lovell’s Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon is popular.–Tracy Cronce, Stevens Point Pub. Sch. District, WI
Luli and the Language of Tea.
By Andrea Wang. Illus. by Hyewon Yum
Apr. 2022. 40p. Holiday/Neal Porter, $18.99 (9780823446148). PreS–Gr. 2
Ten young children gather in a classroom for supervised play while their immigrant parents attend the ESL class next door. Since the children speak different languages, each is playing alone. But Luli, a Chinese American girl, has a plan. After unpacking a teapot, teacups, and tea leaves, she makes tea. When she calls out “Chá,” the children respond in their own languages (Russian, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, Arabic, Spanish, German, Swahili, and Portuguese) with their words for tea, which are amazingly similar to hers. Gathering at a circular table, they pass around cups of tea. Now Luli brings out a box and uses her new favorite English word, “Cookie?” Watching the children engage with one another, “Luli’s heart is full.” The author of Watercress (2021), Wang writes a simple, precise narrative that is more than the sum of its parts. Few writers could conjure up the characters’ contentment as concisely as this: “Hands curled around warm cups. Mouths curved into shy smiles.” Yum’s sensitive colored-pencil illustrations use clean lines, rounded shapes, and soft hues to depict the setting and reveal the characters’ emotions. The back matter introduces the 10 children, their countries of origin, and the place of tea in their cultures. A rewarding read-aloud choice.
— Carolyn Phelan
to them in Chinese, “Cha!” Each child
looks up in turn and replies with the word
for tea in their own language including Russian, Hindi, Persian, Arabic, German, and Swahili. Despite the differences, the word is similar enough that they all understand and are soon passing cups of tea around the table, then portioning out the tea again so there is enough for Luli, who has cookies, too. All of this breaks the language barrier as the children laugh, eat, and play together. Wang’s seamless text weaves the children’s names, spoken language, and pronunciations into her story. Meanwhile Yum’s illustrations give life and personality to the children with spot-on expressions and plenty of detail. Her dynamic perspectives not only give all the characters, who are depicted with various skin tones, a chance to stand out as individuals, but provide momentum to the story. An Author’s Note explains Wang’s inspiration and offers more world tea facts. VERDICT A delightful look at coming together despite differences that is centered on the immigrant experience of learning English. A great addition to all collections.–Catherine Callegari