An engaging, accessible narrative of immigration, resilience, and connections between generations.

THE GIRL IN THE GOLD DRESS

A Korean American girl learns the history of the gold dress she plans to wear in a talent show in this picture book.

Hannah is anxious about her Korean dance performance for her school talent show. A huge worry is her ostentatious peach-and-gold dress: “It was too different. Too Korean.” Noticing her discomfort, her mother tells her the story of her great-grandmother’s hanbok fabric business in Korea. The woman had to flee North Korea during the war. She needed to bring her fabrics with her but could not carry many bags; instead, she wrapped hanbok silks around her body under her coat, including a peach-and-gold one. Before moving to America, she gave the new store owner in Seoul instructions never to sell the peach-and-gold hanbok unless a girl named Geum Chun requested it. When Hannah was born, her great-grandmother gave her a Korean name—Geum Chun—so that she could eventually claim the dress. Armed with this knowledge, Hannah dazzles at the talent show. While questions remain—why did Hannah never learn this secret before?—the emotional arc of Paik’s story is neat and the message affirming for children seeking connections with immigrant histories that feel remote. Lin Park’s acrylic paintings offer detailed, realistic portraits of Hannah, her mother, and the bright silk fabric and sketchier pictures of the historical narrative. The titular dress is rendered in stunning gold paint.

An engaging, accessible narrative of immigration, resilience, and connections between generations.

Pub Date: May 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-954109-11-7

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Imagilore Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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