Reviews - What do customers think about New Clothes for New Year's Day?
A lovely glimpse at Korean culture Feb 8, 2007
I remember at one of those wannabe-author conferences recently, moderators read from a picture book manuscript about a Japanese girl putting on her kimono. None of the panelists--drawn from the publishing industry, wouldn't you know it--went for it. I liked it. Why did it have to have conflict, drama, a character arc? It was a book about playing dress up, who needs more than that?
So I was thrilled to read this Korean version of the same idea: a young girl putting on her new clothes so she can join her family in marking the start of the lunar calendar. That's all she does is get dressed, but I can vouch as the Mommy of an 18-month-old clothes horse that little girls eat this stuff up.
She starts out in her white under-robe, over which she layers the fancy, homemade clothes that will help her start the year fresh. She dons a silk skirt in blazing red, embroidered with the Chinese character for "luck," a rainbow-striped jacket that fastens at her chest, colorful hair ribbons, a good-luck sachet to pin to her jacket, and much else. Even the details on her socks and the embroidery on her shoes are noted with loving detail.
Along the way, we learn much about Korean customs.
The illustrations look like pen and ink, with vivid crimsons and jade greens against a pale yellow background embellished with mazes or stylized flowers. Each page has that signature Eastern blend of simplicity of composition and the harmony of all its elements.
Try to pry this from your daughter's hands, I dare you.
Simply Stunning Feb 6, 2007
"New Clothes for New Year's Day," by Hyun-Joo Bae, is told from the perspective of a small Korean girl. It begins,
"Today is New Year's Day.
It's a new year, it's a new day, and it's a new morning. It's the first day for the beginning of everything.
The new sun hasn't shown up, and there are new clouds in the sky. (I hope we have new snow too.)
But the very best new things of all the new things are..."
Then our narrator begins to dress in her beautiful new clothes for the occasion*: "A crimson silk skirt. A rainbow-striped jacket. Delicate socks embroidered with flowers. A hair ribbon of read and gold." And, there's more: "flowered shoes, a gift from Father," a "warm, furry vest with the gold decorations," and a "special winter hat."
The young girl dresses with care, tying each bow with perfectly, straightening her socks, and checking her progress in the mirror. It's a simple, yet beautiful and optimistic tale, completed by Hyun-Joo Bae's stunning illustrations. And the illustrations are truly something special--colorful, simply composed, and embellished with flowers, gorgeous rooms, and, finally, snow.
Hyun-Joo Bae has included two pages of informational text at the end of "New Clothes for New Year's Day" explaining each item of clothing, its significance, and the role of New Year's Day in Korean culture. "New Clothes for New Year's Day" is highly recommended for children ages four to nine and is an excellent choice for a read aloud on New Year's celebrations. It will also be enjoyed by that dress-up obsessed child in your life. ============================================= * Don't worry. Our hero begins her day dressed in a white robe designed to be worn underneath her costume.
A picturebook cherishing traditional Korean culture Feb 4, 2007
Written and illustrated by Hyun-Joo Bae, New Clothes for New Year's Day is a picturebook cherishing traditional Korean culture. Told through the eyes of a young Korean girl who looks forward to her wearing her special New Year's Day clothes, New Clothes for New Year's Day follows her as she puts on the colorful articles to give luck and celebrate the coming of the new year. A lovely and enjoyable picturebook, and also useful for demonstrating to a child how to put on a Korean-style New Year's Day outfit. "A New Year, a new day, a new morning. / New clothes. / We start the year with new things. / New things, for the year-older me. // Time to go... oh! // New snow for New Year's Day!"