Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Travel the World: South Korea: Yellow Umbrella.

In today's edition of Travel the World, I am featuring Yellow Umbrella by Jae Soo Liu. This book isn't exactly new--the first American edition being published in 2002--and it isn't exactly unknown since it got some high praise when it first released including being named one of the New York Times Best Illustrated books of the year (2002). But it is new-to-me. Or relatively new-to-me.

I first read Yellow Umbrella last fall. I loved it. I really really loved it. But since it is a wordless picture book, I felt somewhat at a loss of what to say. But I've decided to be brave and venture forth into new territory. If my review doesn't do it justice, you'll just have to trust me that it is worth it. Worth finding and reading yourself.

The book Yellow Umbrella comes with a CD. For the full experience, readers are urged to listen to the CD while 'reading' or 'sharing' the book. An interesting concept in my opinion. A wordless picture book whose story is told by music--by melody--and by illustrations. It's a completely different experience than you might expect. It's all about mood and tone. I'm not sure everyone will love it. But I urge you to read and see for yourself. You might just find it as delightful as I did.

The CD is 27 minutes. The track needed for reading the story is a little over 7 minutes long. The rest of the CD are "extra" bits that make it just that much more fun of an experience.

Thoroughly appropriate for use as "art appreciation" or "music appreciation" or the more complex aspects of storytelling. It also makes for a great shared experience on a rainy day.

The publisher is Kane/Miller. It was originally published in South Korea.


Darla D 4:32 PM  

I love this book! We check it out of the library regularly (in fact, we have it out right now). My girls think it's so much fun to listen to the music and turn the pages, and see how the music changes at different places in the book. I especially enjoy the way it makes them think about art and music mixing together to create something new and different. Thanks for the review!

Sarah,  10:54 AM  

Thanks for the tip on this book. I'm always looking for fun and unusual books to send to my nephews and nieces, and this sounds like a perfect one. I may keep a copy for myself as well!

Melissa 6:40 PM  

This does sound like a fascinating book -- I'll have to keep an eye out for it (I may have to do some digging, but it sounds like it'll be worth it!).

softdrink 10:46 PM  

I love the pictures! You did a great job...I would never even have thought of reviewing a wordless book.

Adrienne,  8:20 PM  

Hmm... I've never heard of this book and I would have to agree that you did an awesome job reviewing the wordless piece. I like this concept of music and flipping pages on a rainy day as a shared experience. I'll certainly look into this one. This review is one of the very reasons I am am thrilled to have signed up for this reading challenge.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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