White Ravens: Republic of Korea

17 books      

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2003 - 21
Kim, Jae-Hong (text/illus.)
Dong’gangui Aidul
(The children from the Dong river)
Seoul : Gilbut Orini, 2001. [42] p.
ISBN 89-86621-72-x
River – Nature discovery – Imagination
At the banks of the Dong river, little Sun-I and her big brother Dong-I are impatiently waiting for their mother who has gone to the market. The two children spend an exciting day at the river because the girl – thanks to her imagination – sees nature and the river’s surroundings in her own special way. She recognises animals and other creatures on rocks and in the reflections in the river, she talks to them and asks them about her mother’s whereabouts. After a long day of waiting, the children happily greet their mother on her return. In this imaginative picture book, the readers are enabled to discover creatures hidden in natural objects and can thus appreciate nature’s beauty at the Korean river Dong watching it through a child’s eyes. (4+)

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2003 - 22
Park, Kyung-Jin (text/illus.)
Bomi omyun
(When spring comes)
Seoul : Gilbut Orini, 2001. [36] p.
ISBN 89-86621-99-1
Fox – Bear – Friendship – Separation – Hibernation – Seasons of the year – Insight
Little bear and little fox are the best of friends. In the autumn forest, the two of them are having a lot of fun together. Even though winter is approaching and little bear should prepare for his hibernation, the fox wants to go on playing with him and therefore distracts him with loads of funny games. Yet, when the two friends manage to save a frog from freezing to death, little fox finally realises that hibernation is vital for his friend. They promise each other to meet again in spring. In this atmospheric picture book, the author uses the seasons of the year to symbolically describe the maturation process of children who slowly grow up: Saying goodbye and meeting again are seen as natural parts of human life. (4+) ☆ ☼

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2004 - 21
Sin, Tong-jun (text/illus.)
Chihachŏl ŭn tallyŏ onda
(The underground train arrives)
Seoul : Ch obang, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 89-90614-10-4
Seoul – Underground – Train station
People who want to take an underground train, simply walk down the stairs to the station, buy a ticket, pass the gate, and wait for their train on the platform. Many different people travel by underground and the scenes are usually alike in all the big cities. In this book, Sin Tong-jun uses a very original, direct, and attractive collage-technique to illustrate the hustle and bustle at the underground stations in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea. The various passengers look so alive that the reader almost seems to hear them talking. The stations, tunnels, bridges, the river, and the view of the city are shown elaborately, with several pictograms, train schedules, and Korean, Chinese, and Latin characters ingeniously woven into the pictures. This lively, graphically designed picture book is an excellent inspiration for children to develop their own creativity. (4+)

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2004 - 22
Yi, Hyŏn-sun (text)
Ch'oe, Ŭn-mi (illus.)
Sim Ch ŏng ka
(Shimchong’s song)
Seoul : Ch obang, 2003. [32] p. + 1 CD
ISBN 89-90614-05-8. - 89-90614-03-1
Folk tale – Daughter – Father – Self-sacrifice – Miraculous cure – Music – Theatre
Shimchong believes that only an offering in the temple can cure her father of his blindness. Since she is very poor, she sells her life to some sailors who sacrifice young girls to placate the sea. The sea-king, however, spares her life and eventually, her father can see again. This folk tale about a virtuous girl is created in the 400-year-old Korean performance art of P’ansori, in which only one person speaks and sings in alternation with a drummer. The characters in this book, borrowed from the traditional Korean mask-dance, act in stylised poses without a background. Just like a P’ansori singer who fills the stage with his performance alone, the figures fill the large-format pages of this book. (4+) ☆ ☼

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2005 - 18
Cho, Ho-sang (text)
Kim, Tong-sŏng (illus.)
Onŭri
(My name is Today)
Seoul : Ungjin Tatk’ŏm, 2003. [40] p.
(Horong-pul yet iyagi ; 14)
ISBN 89-01-04014-X
Girl – Wise woman – Search for parents – Stamina – Courage – Discovery – Literary fairy tale
This literary fairy tale focuses on a little orphan girl called Today, who starts searching for her parents. She meets a wise old woman who sends her on a long and adventurous journey during which she encounters many different creatures (man, tree, snake, fairy). Although they themselves are in need of some help, they readily help the girl. Little Today promises to return their favours on her way back. With an astonishing determination, the girl braves any barriers (such as river and mountain), the frightening guardian of the gate, and finally finds her parents. When she returns, she keeps her promise to her helpers. The illustrations are full of depth and form a link between the traditional Korean art of painting and modern ink- and watercolour drawings. (6+)

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2005 - 19
Cho, Ho-sang (text)
Yun, Mi-suk (illus.)
P’at’chuk halmŏn kwa horangi
(Soybeans, Grandmother, and Tiger)
Seoul : Ungjin Tatk’ŏm, 2003. [32] p.
(Horong-pul yet iyagi ; 26)
ISBN 89-01-04026-3
Grandmother – Tiger – Modesty – Generosity – Poverty – Rescue – Fairy tale
An old woman lives in her little house together with a couple of animals and animate objects whom she loves and cares for and, since this is a fairy tale, even feeds them her soybean-soup. By and by, the egg, the nail, the turtle, and all the others develop their own distinct ›personality‹. Yet, what is even more important is that all the little creatures are about to play an important role one day – and that is the day a tiger comes round to eat the old woman. Luckily enough, she can persuade the tiger to wait until harvest time and when it returns in autumn, the tiny house-creatures help her get rid of the enemy. Large, earth-coloured pictures with comic-book-like characters vividly portray the threatening situation and inspire readers to re-enact the scenes on stage. The varied composition of the pictures and the use of textured papers in different colours as background lend a particular energy to the illustrations. (4+)

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2005 - 20
Ra, Hyŏn Sŏen (text)
Che, So Ra (illus.)
To san sŏ wŏn
(The Tosan Temple)
Seoul : Chŏpang Chakpang, 2004. [40] p.
ISBN 89-90614-11-2
Temple – Meditation – Quietness – Function
This beautiful, unpretentious book for children and adults presents the life in a Korean monastery that was built in the 16th century by the well-known scholar Li Hăng. Entering the village of monks with its low roofs through the entrance gate, the readers are led from room to room by a detailed description. The precise drawing technique makes it easy to recognise the rooms for prayers, study, meditation, and worship. In addition, the book explains how heating and ventilation used to work and demonstrates the perfect play of light and shadow resulting from the traditional Korean art of building. This book introduces interested readers to a fairly quiet, ›un-hip‹, spiritual world. Full-page colour illustrations perfectly complement the text and imitate the East-Asian style and techniques. (8+) ☆ ☼

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2006 - 16
Han, Pyŏng-ho (text/illus.)
Saega doego sip’ŏ
(I wish I were a bird)
Seoul : K’aerikt’ŏ Pŭlan, 2004. [40] p.
ISBN 89-91096-10-7
Craftsman Daily life – Dream – Metamorphosis – Search for identity
The most fervent wish of a craftsman is to grow beautiful wings, turn into a bird, fly across the sky with his flock, and sleep in a tree at night. He is aware of the downsides, of course: the feeling of loneliness, or the fact that he will be shivering in the rain and snow but still… However, one day, in his dream, his bird-self only just manages to escape a cat, and this event makes him realise that from now on he’d rather be a cat. This book deals with the constant wish for change so typical for the human search for identity. The short concise story is perfectly complemented by mysterious, subtly coloured pencil-drawings. (7+)
(Golden Apple, Biennial of Illustrations, Bratislava; 2005)

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2006 - 17
Kim, Hyang-kŭm (text)
Ch’oe Suk-hŭi (illus.)
Sesang ŭl damŭn kŭrim chido
(The world on the map)
Kyŏng gi-do : Porim, 2004. [32] p.
(Chŏntong munhwa kŭrim ch’aek solgŏnara)
ISBN 89-433-0523-0 / -0069-7
Human being Nature – Map – Korea/History
What may have inspired people many thousand years ago to create a map of their home country by reproducing a faithful image of their surroundings? They probably worried about finding food in remote regions. It might have been necessary for orientation purposes in times of war and peace. Trying to find acceptable means for reproduction, they invented wood- and stone-printing techniques and produced expressive maps that can still be used today. This book explains to readers how means of information developed over the centuries and how useful such maps proved to be for living together. The illustrations are created in bright gouache paints. Particularly remarkable are the pictures that present landscapes in relief and the effects that emphasise light and shadow. (7+)

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2006 - 18
Pak, Hyŏn-jŏng (text/illus.)
Saesaekssi
(The bride)
Seoul : Ch’obang Ch’aekpang, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 89-90614-12-0
Korea Bride – Tradition – Traditional dress
In Korea, a wedding is considered the most important event in life, and the bride is therefore donned in magnificent, colourful robes. In this picture book, the details of a particularly valuable traditional bridal dress are presented in a minimalist way. The patterns and embroidery full of symbolic meanings, the headwear with jades, corals, pearls, silver, enamel, etc., and other accessories point towards a long tradition in creating craftwork. The lines and shapes of the various items of clothing and the dangling cords and ribbons are beautiful to look at. This attractive book is a highquality attempt to introduce the younger generations to ancient culture with the help of highly aesthetic pictures. (4+) ☆

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2006 - 19
Wi Ki-ch’ŏl kŭl (text)
Kim, Hwan-yŏng (illus.)
Horangi wa kotkam
(The tiger and the dried persimmon)
P’aju : Kungmin Sŏgwan, 2004. [36] p.
(Yetnal yetchok e; 2)
ISBN 89-11-02224-1
Tiger Persimmon – Misunderstanding – Folk tale
At night, a hungry tiger roams the hills and arrives at a remote hut in which a desperate mother tries to soothe her wailing child. Finally, she says: »Look, there is the dried persimmon!« and the child immediately stops crying. Frightened, the tiger steps back because he believes the persimmon to be a terrifying monster, a lot stronger than himself. When, on top of all that, a thief turns up, the chain of misunderstandings culminates. Tiger and thief are fooled by their own imagination and flee into the night. The expressive, wood-cut-like illustrations of this folk tale, which is also popular outside Korea, are sparsely coloured in warm earthy paints. (3+)

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2006 - 20
Yi, Su-ji (text/illus.)
Tongmurwŏn
(The zoo)
Seoul : Piryongso, 2004. [36] p.
(Piryongso ch’angjak kŭrim ch’aek; 20)
ISBN 89-491-0047-9
Zoo Girl – Imagination – Harmony
A little child and her parents visit the zoo. Fascinated by all the animals, the child embarks on a dream journey that makes it forget its parents and the real world around it. As a »member« of the animal world, it dances in the midst of water-spraying elephants, peacefully grazing giraffes, and flocks of colourful birds. In the child’s imagination, the fences and cages of the zoo disappear and they all live happily ever after as a big animal family. While the sad and grey reality the real world – is depicted in greyish-blue shades with only a few spots of colour, the utopian dream-world of animal-people, where everybody lives in peace despite their differences, is illustrated in sparklingly bright pastel-paints on vivid double-page pictures. (4+)

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2006 - 21
Yi, Tae-jun (text)
Kim, Tong-sŏng (illus.)
3mma majung
(I am waiting for my mum)
P’aju : Sonyŏn Hangil, 2004. [40] p.
ISBN 89-356-5712-3
Winter Darkness – Child – Waiting – Mother – Tram
A young boy walks to the tram stop to pick up his mother. Very patiently, he keeps waiting for her while the trams come and go without her arriving. Despite his growing disappointment with every »empty« tram, he stands his ground and doesn’t even seem to notice his cold nose or the descending darkness. It starts snowing and still the boy keeps looking up into the winter sky: Is Mum ever going to come? Eventually, mother and child make their way home together. This simple tale about a child’s fears comes alive through the imaginative illustrations delicate sepia drawings, some of which are coloured in tender shades of green and brown. (4+)
(Baeksang Publishing Award; 2004)

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2006 - 22
Yun, Sŏk-jung (text)
Yi, Yŏng-gyŏng (illus.)
Nŏkchŏm ban
(Four and a half strokes)
P’aju : Ch’angbi, 2004. [36] p.
(Uri si kŭrimch’aek ; 3)
ISBN 89-364-5405-6
Child Time – Playing – Nature – Mother – Daughter
A mother sends her daughter down to the corner shop to ask what time it is. But no sooner has the little girl learned the time, than she spots a cock pecking at the ground. Completely enthralled, she walks off after it until she suddenly notices the bustling ants on the path and follows them into the field. There, between flowers, she hears the dragonflies humming and lets the sound lead her into some stranger’s garden. She picks up a flower, sits down, and immerses herself in the world of blossoms and colours. After sunset, like a sleepwalker, she finally finds her way back home and calls out with her flower in hand: »Mummy, it’s half past four.« This humorous, simple tale about the typical behaviour of »timeless« children has a chain-like structure and is accompanied by delicate ink and water-colour drawings. They form an artistic unity and mirror the mother’s deep trust in and understanding for her child. (5+)

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2007 - 20
Hwang, Sŏn-mi (text)
Kim, Yun-ju (illus.)
Na-onŭi sumŏinŭnpang
(Na-on’s secret room)
P’aju : Changbi, 2006. 249 p.
(Changbi Adongmunko; 228)
ISBN 89-364-4228-7
Child – Parents – Illness – House – Secret – Peace
Little Na-on, who suffers from severe asthma attacks, is tired of her mother’s exaggerated care and patronising attitude. Therefore she often hides at her mother’s old birthplace where she explores the unkempt garden full of flowers and herbs. This is a place where she can finally breathe freely. One day, the girl overhears her parents talking. She learns that she and her twin brother were born in that very house, that her brother died there soon afterwards, and that her mother has refused to enter the house ever since. Finally, the girl begins to understand her mother’s behaviour and pain. As nobody seems to take care of house or garden, Na-on’s father secretly starts renovating it. When her mother learns about her daughter’s secret activities and her husband’s efforts, she eventually makes peace with the past and decides not to sell the house. Delicate illustrations in bright colours perfectly complement the text and underline the message of this powerful and imaginative story. (11+)

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2007 - 21
Kim, Jung-sŏk (text/illus.)
Appaga Pogosipŏ
(Longing for my father)
P’aju City : Porim, 2005. [32] p.
(Porim ch’angjak kŭrim ch’aek Mochŏn)
ISBN 89-433-0580-x
Daughter – Father – Longing – Letter – Awkwardness – School – Everyday life – Help
While her father has to stay behind in Korea to work, little Ha-yun and her mother fly to their new family home in New Zealand. Ha-yun terribly misses her father and writes letters full of love and longing. She meticulously describes all the impressions and difficulties that she faces in her new home country and thus turns everyday events into something special. Friendly Mr. Carry, who teaches English to the girl and her mother, helps her to get accepted by her new classmates. Ha-yun sends her father a drawing of the new garden, the strange plants, and the lemon tree. She waits impatiently for the summer and her father to arrive so that she can greet him with home-made lemon juice. This quiet story is accompanied by colourful ink- and watercolour illustrations. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2007 - 22
Mun, Sŭng-yŏn (text)
Yi, Su-ji (illus.)
Uri nŭn pŏlgŏsungi hwaga
(We are naked painters)
P’aju : Tolbaegae Ŏrini, 2005. [34] p.
ISBN 89-90025-09-5
Siblings – Painting – Body – Fun
Hun and Jin, brother and sister, discover a box of body paints in their room. The children are absolutely delighted and start covering first their own and then each other’s bodies with colourful paints. Their imagination roams freely, and in their multi-coloured daydreams, they travel through oceans, jungles, and into the moonlit night. Only when their mother repeatedly calls for them to come and get into the bath tub, do the siblings return from their imaginary journey. Witty and expressive full-page drawings rendered in charcoal and pencil are completed with partly-coloured cut-out figures pasted onto the illustrations in collage technique. (3+)