Where's Halmoni?
Where's Halmoni?

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Annotation: Searching for their missing grandmother, two Korean children follow tracks into a fantastic world filled with Korean-speaking beings from folklore. Includes translations and information about the legendary characters.
Catalog Number: #153045
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Sasquatch Books
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 96
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-632-17077-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-0079-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-632-17077-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-0079-5
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2016056020
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Publishers Weekly
In Kim-s first outing as author, two clever modern-day kids meet characters from Korean lore as they search for their missing halmoni (Korean for grandmother). After Noona and Joon follow tiger tracks through a mysterious door, they-re transported to a breathtaking Asian landscape studded with jade-colored mountains and stunted pines. They meet a rabbit who snarfs down their snacks, mischievous goblins who give them a magical door knocker in exchange for yet more snacks (Joon-s knapsack is well stocked), a bushy-tailed fox, and a treacherous tiger, all of whom speak only Korean; their lines are written out in Hangul (translations are offered in the back). Readers who don-t know Korean won-t mind: Noona and Joon don-t know much Korean, either, and the pictures make everything clear. The children are never intimidated by their adversaries, even when the action is no-kidding threatening. The sibling banter is believable and delightful, Kim-s panel sequences teem with energy, and her story spotlights comedy over danger: at one point, a goblin proffers the children a pair of furry underwear, and the big showdown turns into an epic bout of -rock paper scissors.- Ages 5-9. (Oct.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 2In this fun adventure story inspired by Korean folktales, young Noona and her little brother Joon step into a fantastical land to find their missing Halmoni ("grandmother"). Their journey partitions into three sections, each highlighting lovable or distrusted figures from traditional stories who help or hinder the kids as they search. Where's Halmoni? has all the thrills, laughs, and morals that you could want from a good folktale for kids, but among Western libraries, you will actually find very little like it. Not only does it feature an Asian culture and characters, this title makes several distinctive design choices, as well. One example is Kim's combination of modern and traditional Korean art styles; characters, with their less complicated and more expressive designs, both complement and distinguish themselves from the stunningly painted classic backgrounds. Another is the use of languagewhile the humans speak in English, creatures from the mythical world respond in Korean. Context makes clear what is being said for those who can't read it; a pictorial chart in the back also provides a translation. One key line does include a transliteration. Many of the written and visual details (such as the hand signal for "come here"), could be used to promote discussion. VERDICT For its jaw-dropping art, encouraging bilingual attitude, and conscientious portrayal of Korean culture, Where's Halmoni? is a perfect choice for most collections.Rachel Forbes, Oakville Public Library, Ont.
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Korean siblings have a rip-roaring adventure, tumbling into a magical land in search of their missing grandmother in this folklore-inspired graphic novel. A girl and her little brother arrive at their halmoni's home only to find her mysteriously absent and large paw prints covering the floor. Falling through the doors of a bedding closet into a fantastical wilderness inhabited by classic Korean folk-tale characters, the siblings work together—armed only with a backpack full of snacks, an enchanted back scratcher, a golden door handle, and their plucky wits—to find Halmoni. The children's dialogue is written in English, while the utterances of the rabbit, goblins, tiger, and nine-tailed fox are given in the Korean alphabet, hangul. Romanized Korean also appears throughout, with an endnote providing translations as well as background about Korean folklore. Kim's bright, expressive illustrations are a delight, effectively conveying triumph, indignation, surprise, consternation, and more. Hidden clues lurk, adding another layer of intrigue to the plot for observant readers to ponder. Cultural details are seamlessly integrated into the story, such as removing outside shoes to change into slippers indoors and gesturing "come here" in the East Asian manner. Those familiar with the culture will appreciate elements that are not explicitly explained, such as the little boy's calling his sister "Noona," the appropriate kinship term for an older female, making this an accessible, diverse title for a broad readership. An exceptionally charming and well-executed romp that brings to life loving family relationships and an enticing fairy-tale world. (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* In search of their missing grandmother, Joon and his noona, or older sister, follow large animal tracks through a closet door and into a fantasy world filled with characters from classic Korean folktales. Along the way, they receive gifts from the moon rabbit and dokkebi (giants) and match wits with a tiger and a nine-tailed fox before escaping back to their halmoni's house, where she is waiting with a fresh pot of red-bean soup. Rather than just a basic fable, this is instead a sophisticated mélange of urban households, traditional Asian landscapes, vibrant color schemes, cultural details, subtle visual jokes, pitch-perfect dialogue, and a knapsack containing a seemingly endless supply of snacks. All this combines into a visually arresting modern story using traditional elements full of action, wit, and whimsy. The relationship between the two siblings is realistically characterized by teasing and squabbling. Also believable is the use of hangul: the children speak English, while the folktale characters speak Korean. The meanings are made clear through the illustrations, but a cleverly devised list of translations is included at the end, along with an author's note about the folktales used. An exceptional example of text and art working together to tell a complete story, this book is an excellent choice for either the picture-book or graphic-novel collection.
Word Count: 417
Reading Level: 1.7
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 1.7 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 192317 / grade: Lower Grades
Guided Reading Level: O
Fountas & Pinnell: O

Beautifully illustrated and told by debut author Julie Kim, this picture book in a graphic-novel style follows a young Korean girl and boy whose search for their missing grandmother leads them into a world inspired by Korean folklore, complete with mischievous goblins (dokkebi), a greedy tiger, a clever rabbit, and a wily fox.
 
Two young children pay a visit to Halmoni (grandmother in Korean), only to discover she's not home. As they search for her, noticing animal tracks covering the floor, they discover a window, slightly ajar, new to their grandmother's home.  Their curiosity gets the best of them, and they crawl through and discover an unfamiliar fantastical world, and their adventure begins.  As they continue to search for their grandmother and solve the mystery of the tracks, they go deeper into a world of Korean folklore, meeting a number of characters who speak in Korean along the way, and learn more about their cultural heritage. 
 
This beautifully illustrated graphic picture book is filled with a number of Easter eggs for readers of all ages to discover, and is inspired by the Korean folktales that author and illustrator Julie Kim heard while growing up. Translations to Korean text in the story and more about the folktale-inspired characters are included at the end.


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