OLDER BROTHER, YOUNGER BROTHER

A KOREAN FOLKTALE

A morality tale from Korea illustrates the values of loyalty, respect, and compassion. Hungbu, the good younger son, suffers the loutishness of his older brother, Nolbu, wanting to bring dishonor to the family. Nolbu repays Hungbu's humility by turning him out of the house after their father's death. When Hungbu mends a swallow's broken wing, the bird repays his kindness with magic seeds that grow into treasure-filled gourds. The messagethat the spirit world rewards good deeds with material richesis one of the most prevalent in children's storytelling. Jaffe (Patakin, 1994, etc.) wisely states in an afterword that today's children might not even consider Hungbu a hero. In spite of that concern, she does not impose a modern sensibility onto the story. The illustrations, like the language, take a no-frills approach, providing watercolors of familiar scenes: the homeless underdog, the unfolding of riches, the unleashing of a horrible ``reward.'' It's debatable whether tomorrow's adults will respond to such a black-and-white depiction of their complex world. It's a debate worth having, though, nicely argued here. (Picture Book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-670-85645-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1995

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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