"OLDER BROTHER, YOUNGER BROTHER: A Korean Folktale" by Nina--Adapt. Jaffe


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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 message--that the spirit world rewards good deeds with material riches--is 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.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Viking