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HALMONI’S DAY by Edna Coe Bercaw Kirkus Star

HALMONI’S DAY

By Edna Coe Bercaw (Author) , Robert Hunt (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8037-2444-6
Publisher: Dial

Newcomer Bercaw has written an affecting story of Jennifer’s fears and joys when her Korean halmoni, or grandmother, flies from her peaceful village to take part in a school Grandparents’ Day program. Hunt’s (Jacob's Gift, not reviewed) wonderfully sensitive oils are a perfect accompaniment in soft pastels that almost appear to be seen through gauze. Halmoni has flown 14 hours of time zones to get there; in Hunt’s painting, her face and posture show her weariness as well as the joy she feels at its end. Jennifer is torn—so glad to meet her that she leans forward to rest her cheek on Halmoni’s as Dad drives them home from the airport—but fearful of her differences. Her grandmother wears a beautiful silk dress, not running shoes and athletic outfits like her friends’ grandmothers will wear to the next day’s program. Then, too, Halmoni will be asked to share a family memory, and Mom and Dad have to translate for Halmoni even to Jennifer. But Halmoni reads Jennifer’s mind, perhaps because she learned to read her father’s mind when he returned from war, as readers discover when Mom translates Halmoni’s softly chiming words to the class. Readers can see in her face that Halmoni also worries as she waits to speak—a truly expressive portrait. Halmoni captivates her audience, as she will the audience for this stellar debut. (Picture book. 5-8)