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DEAR JUNO by Soyung Pak


by Soyung Pak

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-670-88252-6
Publisher: Viking

Picture-book debuts for both author and illustrator result in an affectionate glimpse of intergenerational bonds. Juno loves to get letters in the red-and-blue bordered airmail envelopes that come from his grandmother, who lives in Korea, near Seoul. He cannot read Korean, but he opens the letter anyway, and learns what he can from what his grandmother has sent: a photograph of herself and her new cat, and a dried flower from her garden. When his parents read him the letter, he realizes how much he learned from the other things his grandmother mailed to him. He creates some drawings of himself, his parents, house, and dog, and sends them along with a big leaf from his swinging tree. He gets back a package that includes drawing pencils and a small airplane—the grandmother is coming to visit. The messages that can be conveyed without words, language differences between generations, and family ties across great distances are gently and affectingly handled in this first picture book. The illustrations, done in oil-paint glazes, are beautifully lit; the characters, particularly Grandmother, with her bowl of persimmons, her leafy garden, and her grey bun that looks “like a powdered doughnut,” are charming. (Picture book. 3-7)