Monday, June 25, 2007

Book Review - New Clothes for New Year's Day

May was Asian Pacific Heritage month. I was hoping to have this review posted then, but my trip to China derailed those plans. Upon my return I was delighted to find a signed copy of a poetry book by Janet Wong waiting for me. Many of the poems in this volume are about Korea, so reading them reminded me about this gem of a book by Hyun-Ju Bae.

New Clothes for New Year's Day was published by Kane/Miller in March of this year. Kane/Miller specializes in bringing foreign translated books to the American market. This book represents the best of what Kane/Miller does. It is a lushly illustrated volume that is stunning in its beauty and simplicity. This lovely picture book from South Korea presents the story of a young girl as she prepares to celebrate the start of the Lunar New Year. Readers get to follow along as the girl dresses in the new clothes her mother has made her for the occasion. She carefully dresses in a crimson silk skirt, a rainbow striped jacket, socks embroidered with flowers, a hair ribbon of red and gold, and more. Here is an excerpt:
I could hardly sleep last night.

But today I finally get to wear my wonderful new clothes. Finally!

Stretch up on tiptoes to reach the hanger . . .
Reading this made me reflect back on all those days of grade school when I waited anxiously to put on my "best" new outfit for that important first day. You can't help but feel the excitement of the young girl as she dresses from head to toe.

The illustrations nicely complement the text, with gorgeous interior scenes and an attention to detail that matches the young girl's dressing with care.

At the end of the book the author has included information explaining the items of clothing and their significance. Also discussed is the importance of New Year's Day in Korean culture.

This is a beautiful book that realistically captures the joy, appreciation and excitement of a young girl as she prepares for this important holiday. This is a welcome addition to the body of literature on the Lunar New Year. I highly recommend it.

Book: New Clothes for New Year's Day
Author: Hyun-Ju Bae
Publisher: Kane/Miller
Publication Date: March, 2007
Pages: 32
Grades: K-3
ISBN-10: 1933605294
ISBN-13: 978-1933605296
Source of Book: Copy received from Raab Associates, Inc.

1 comment:

  1. Another great Chinese New Year book that I read with my class is, "Happy New Year! Kung-Hsi FA-Ts'ai!" by Hitz Demi. The book discusses many of the rituals and ideas behind the holiday. Unfortunately we got hit with a snow day this year so we didn't get to do very much! -Lindsey W.