WHAT WILL YOU BE, SARAH MEE? by Kate Aver Avraham


Age Range: 3 - 6
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The celebration of a Korean baby’s first birthday has special significance, with a fortune-telling ritual taking center stage. Big brother Chong considers his little sister’s future throughout the day, wondering if she might grow up to become a musician, a dress designer or even the captain of a boat. The prophecy ceremony finally begins with symbolic objects drawn from a box and placed within reach of baby Sara Mee. What will she choose? The premise intrigues, but this choice delivers more information than story. Although Chong has some sweet moments with the baby, he is not a complete character. A glaring question—what did Chong pick at his first birthday?—is never asked, although the answer is indicated. O’Brien’s illustrations, done in ink brushline and watercolor, although colorful and pleasing, leave the characters two-dimensional and add little to an already weak story. Further, Chong’s mother’s assurance that “Girls can be anything in America,” sounds an oddly discordant note. Still, readers interested in Korean culture will welcome the description of this unique tradition, especially since there is little else on the topic. (glossary, author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-58089-210-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2009


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