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Father's Rubber Shoes

Father's Rubber Shoes

by Yumi Heo

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Yungsu is having trouble adjusting to his new home in the United States. His father, busy running the store, doesn't have time to play, and Yungsu misses his friends back in Korea. Father tries to ease the situation by sharing a story from his childhood, about a special pair of shoes. ``I want to give you something-like my rubber shoes, but something you can have all the time,'' Father says. ``That's why we're here. I hope you understand.'' Following this tender exchange, things begin to look better to Yungsu. Heo (One Afternoon) has wrapped the universal feelings of upheaval, alienation and homesickness that accompany any move around a story of one family's immigrant experience. In a subplot of sorts, she spotlights a traditional Korean dish, bulgogi, thereby providing authentic ethnic detail. Heo's oil-and-pencil paintings, rendered in predominantly warm orange and yellow hues, feature a cast of stylized human figures with rotund torsos and tiny feet. Her skillful compositions make use of varying perspectives, giving readers a bird's-eye view, an extreme closeup or a spread that's slightly askew, with objects floating in the background. In this smorgasbord of settings, the gentle-looking characters seem all the more expressive. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-4Yungsu is lonely in America because he has few friends and his father spends long hours in his grocery store. He tells his mother of his discontent, and dreams of his Korean homeland. That night, his father explains why they are in this country, describing the beloved rubber shoes he had as a boy and wore sparingly so they wouldn't wear out. He then tells his son that he wants him to have something like them, but ``something you can have all the time.'' Taking a Korean lunch to his father, Yungsu makes a friend, and his father's store begins to look better to him. Illustrations appear to mix watercolors, ink, and pastels on sometimes textured paper; warm browns, oranges, and blues predominate. The style is primitive and appealing in its simplicity. However, the book is more a free-association slice of life than a plotted story written with sensitivity from a child's perspective.John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
Hazel Rochman
"No one Yungsu knew was at the playground." Lonely and miserable in America, Yungsu dreams of his friends in Korea. Passing by his father's grocery store, he sees his father's hands busy serving customers. That night, the boy feels those hands lovingly holding his, as Father tells a story about himself as a child in Korea, how he carried his first precious pair of rubber shoes so as not to wear them out. He wanted his children to have an easier time, he says. The next day, Yungsu's mother makes his favorite Korean food, and he shares it with an American friend and begins to feel at home. The understated story may be too elusive for young children, but the brightly colored new wavestyle illustrations in oil, pencil, and collage play with perspective--some with an aerial view, some with close-ups of detail. They convey the sense of the boy who feels dislocated and outside and then at the center of his world.

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.77(w) x 11.33(h) x 0.35(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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