Yoon and the Jade Bracelet
Helen Recorvits & Gabi Swiatkowska
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch
o one can judge a children's book as well as a child. Both my children have made multiple requests for me to read this book to them, and when that happens, I know I have a winner on our shelves. The character, Yoon, has appeared in other books by the author; we have also read and enjoyed
Yoon and the Christmas Mitten
. Yoon is a recent Korean immigrant, trying to find her way in America, with the desire to make friends and understand the culture.
oon begins school, and is fascinated by the jump rope game, which she observes on the playground at recess. Painfully shy, Yoon wants to learn how to play, but she has not had the courage to approach anyone, nor has anyone approached her. When her birthday rolls around, Yoon's mother gives her a book about a girl who was tricked by a tiger, as well as a beautiful jade green bracelet that her own mother had given to her. A special inscription in Korean (meaning
) is inside the bracelet.
t school, Yoon catches the attention of an older girl who, sensing Yoon's vulnerability, tells her she will teach her how to play jump rope, in exchange for Yoon allowing her to wear the bracelet. Yoon agrees reluctantly. The girl promises to return the bracelet tomorrow. But the next day, not only does she not return it, but she claims it is hers. Yoon woefully realizes that, just like in the storybook, she has been tricked by a tiger. Then Yoon remembers the inside inscription, which of course the older girl knows nothing about, proving that it is her bracelet after all - and proving that sometimes a girl can trick a tiger.
imply, the story is wonderfully told, with rich language, vibrant images, and an excellent lesson for children to stand their ground when they are confronted with
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