CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 7 . . . . November 29, 2002
In this Korean folktale, a hungry tiger plans to go to the village and find something to eat. Darkness is falling, and he spots an ox he plans to steal, but the tiger overhears the farmer’s wife trying to hush her crying baby by saying that the baby might wake up the fierce wolf or the big black bear. The baby keeps on crying even when its mother says that they might wake up the fearful tiger. Then the mother brings baby a piece of dried persimmon. The baby stops crying, and the foolish tiger thinks that “dried persimmon” is the most horrifying creature! Just then, a thief jumps on tiger’s back, and the tiger thinks it is “dried persimmon” and scrambles to safety, vowing never to try to steal again.
The illustrations by first time reteller and illustrator Janie Jaehyun Park are bold and full of rich colour. The book has the classic design of traditional Korean art, and the use of Chiri endpapers and flattened perspective adds to this feeling. The strong red, blue and orange acrylics over gesso give a rich mottled texture on every page. The stylized tiger dominates the tale, and he is depicted with great verve and personality. In addition, Park explains what persimmon is at the end of the book. Janie Jaehyun Park was born in Korea but now lives in Toronto and attended Sheridan College. She states at the beginning of the book that the story was told to her by her grandmother, and it can also be found in the anthology Long Long Time Ago (Hollym, 1999) by Dong-sung Kim. This folk tale adds to the growing body of Korean folklore available in English including: The Moles and the Mireuk by Holly Kwon and Woodleigh Hubbard (Houghton Mifflin, 1993); The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo and Ruth Heller (HarperCollins, 1993) and The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy by Yangsook Choi (Knopf, 1997).
This humourous story will be enjoyed by young listeners, and it makes its droll point about honesty in a gentle and appealing way.
The Tiger and the Dried Persimmon was a finalist for the 2002 Governor-General's Literary Award in the category of Children's Literature - Illustration.
Lorraine Douglas is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.