Father's Rubber Shoes

by Yumi Heo

Jacket illustration copyright © Yumi Heo.

Named to the Hungry Mind Review "1996 Children's Books of Distinction" list

Pointered review, Kirkus Reviews:

The ache of homesickness is shot through Heo's story of the travails that wait upon the emigrant's experience. Yungsu has just moved to America from Korea. The neighborhood is new, he hasn't any friends, and his father works the long hours of a grocer. Yungsu wants to go home--to Korea. Late one night his father comes to see him in bed. He tells Yungsu the story of a pair of rubber shoes--considered the best shoes to own--Yungsu's grandmother bought his father when he was young. He wanted to keep these shoes forever. "I want to give you something," the father says, "like my rubber shoes, but something you can have all the time. That's why we're here. I hope you understand." It's a quietly epiphanal moment for Yungsu, and his life takes a modest turn for the better. This story has an unpretentious grace about it: The pain is there but so is the peaceful, hopeful presence of Yungsu's mother and father. Heo's illustrations are elegantly, fiercely two-dimensional--primitive, colorful, with all sorts of odd, surprising perspectives and colors: pumpkin orange, grape, olive green, khaki, dusty rose, and maroon on mustard backgrounds.

Hope and longing join with promise in a heartfelt book. (Picture book. 3-6)

"Heo's innovative compositions--flat, kinetic paintings incorporating many patterns and details--reflect Yungsu's changing feelings." -- The Horn Book, Nov/Dec 1995
"The brightly colored new-wave style illustrations . . . . convey the sense of the boy who feels dislocated and outside and then at the center of his world." -- Booklist, Sept. 15, 1995

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