Umbrella Queen

Overview

When Noot is finally allowed to paint umbrellas like the other women and girls in her village, she secretly hopes that she might be chosen as this year's Umbrella Queen. Carefully, she creates serene flowers and butterflies exactly as she has seen her mother and grandmother do for years.

But soon her imagination takes over, and Noot finds herself straying from the old patterns, to the dismay of her family, who depend on the traditionally ...

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Overview

When Noot is finally allowed to paint umbrellas like the other women and girls in her village, she secretly hopes that she might be chosen as this year's Umbrella Queen. Carefully, she creates serene flowers and butterflies exactly as she has seen her mother and grandmother do for years.

But soon her imagination takes over, and Noot finds herself straying from the old patterns, to the dismay of her family, who depend on the traditionally painted umbrellas for their livelihood.

Her parents tell her she must go back to the old designs and Noot obeys, knowing that the King is coming soon to name the one who has painted the most beautiful umbrella. After all, the King would never choose a queen who breaks from tradition . . . would he?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
This story offers many threads that can help young children understand the complexity of what it means to appreciate and to celebrate the fact that we are, in many ways, the same and, in many ways, different. The story is set in a small village in Thailand, where the economy depends on the skills with which the men make umbrellas and the women hand paint designs that will attract buyers. Little Noot is eager to join her mother in painting, but she is taken by the idea of doing elephants instead of the flowers and butterflies that are traditional. Under pressure, she paints as she is told. But on her own, Noot makes tiny umbrellas decorated with dancing elephants. When the King comes to choose who will be the Umbrella Queen, he awards the prize to Noot's unique vision. For an eight-year-old whom I know, this was a wonderfully inspiring tale that helped her understand that you need to pay attention both to what is important to your community and to what is important to you as an individual. Taeeun Yoo's pen and ink illustrations work well to make the story accessible. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3- In a village high in the hills of Thailand, the people make umbrellas decorated with flowers and butterflies. Finally allowed to paint one, young Noot quickly demonstrates her talent to copy her mother's example, but when she's left on her own, she fills her umbrellas with fanciful elephants having fun and "being silly" instead of the expected designs. Her parents remind her that they earn their income by selling the traditional flower-and-butterfly umbrellas, and she knows that she must follow her mother's directions. But late at night, Noot continues to depict elephants on doll-size umbrellas, proudly arranging them on the windowsill. When the King arrives to choose this year's Umbrella Queen, the woman who has created the most beautiful design, he notices the miniatures and bestows the title upon Noot, because she "paints from her heart." Yoo's orange, green, and black colored linoleum prints wonderfully establish the tone for the story, which is related through gracefully told text. The delicately detailed images convey the characters' expressions as well as the loveliness of their creations. Narrative and artwork combine to tell a universal tale about individuality and following your heart to develop your talent.-Susannah Richards, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060750404
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/17/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 244,157
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Shirin Yim Bridges's first picture book, Ruby's Wish, won the Ezra Jack Keats Award and is on several state reading lists. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Taeeun Yoo received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts. She is the author illustrator of The Little Red Fish. She lives in New York City.

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