Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Review: New Clothes for New Year's Day

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.
I received New Clothes for New Year's Day from the publisher, Kane/Miller.

Other blog reviews: papertigers.org, Young Adult (& Kid's) Books Central. ETA: Anne at Book Buds has a review up now as well.
* Don't worry. Our hero begins her day dressed in a white robe designed to be worn underneath her costume.