THE PRINCESS AND THE BEGGAR

A KOREAN FOLKTALE

A sixth-century tale that could have been beloved only by a people of unusual wisdom and generosity. Impatient with his daughter's constant weeping, the king threatens to marry her to the beggar Pabo Ondal. At 16, refusing an arranged marriage that would deprive her of her studies and her freedom, the princess challenges her father to carry out his threat and goes to the reclusive beggar. In time, she teaches him so well that he goes to court and wins a poetry contest (with an exquisite verse metaphorically describing how he and the princess have nurtured each other); impressed, the king welcomes him as an honored son- in-law. O'Brien's graceful retelling subtly hints at the story's substructure—the reason for the princess's tears, the intelligence and good will she and Pabo Ondal bring to their marriage. Her realistic pastel and colored pencil art is unpretentious but very appealing, skillfully representing the characters' feelings and affectionately detailing the landscape and period costume (as explained in an excellent note). A felicitous setting for a lovely tale. (Folklore/Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: April 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-590-46092-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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