New Clothes for New Year’s Day by Hyun-Joo Bae

Picture Book Around the World: Reading Through Korea I’m working hard on my Picture Book Around the World sequel to Picture Book Preschool, my preschool read aloud curriculum for homeschooling your preschooler or kindergartner. This week at Semicolon, we’re going to be visiting Korea through the medium of a treasure trove of picture books featuring that country and its children.

An adorable little Korean girl puts on her new clothes for New Year’s Day. She’s wearing:
Saekdong jeogori–a jacket made of colorful fabric. The one in the book has a rainbow of stripes down the sleeves with tiny images on the vest part.

Norigae–a charm that hangs from the jacket. I might skip this part of the text if I didn’t want to explain good luck charms to my read aloud buddy.

Chima–a red silk skirt.

Baessi Danggi–a decorated headband.

Ttitdon–a special ornament to link the charm to the jacket.

Jumeoni–a lucky bag.

Jobawi–a hat worn behind the headband to keep her head warm.

Beoseon–cotton socks with embroidered decorations on them.

Kkotsin–leather shoes covered with embroidered silk.

The book shows the unnamed little girl putting on each piece of her new wardrobe—all by herself and very carefully. In one picture the girl tumbles head over heels as she pulls on her new socks. In another, she struggles with her hair ribbon, until she gets it just right. One page does mention the “good luck charm” and “lucky bag”, but the emphasis is on starting out the new year with new clothes and a new attitude.

This picture book was originally published in Korea, and the illustrations are crisp, bright, colorful, and confined, to give a brilliant introduction to traditional Korean clothes and furnishings. In fact, the text is OK, but it’s the pictures in this one that shine. Read this one to your little girl, and she will want her own Korean New Year’s outfit. Time to play dress-up.

Other reviews:
Kelly at BigALittleA: “It’s a simple, yet beautiful and optimistic tale, completed by Hyun-Joo Bae’s stunning illustrations.”

The Miss Rumphius Effect: “Reading this made me reflect back on all those days of grade school when I waited anxiously to put on my “best” new outfit for that important first day. You can’t help but feel the excitement of the young girl as she dresses from head to toe.”

Jama’s Alphabet Soup: “There is joy in each piece, from the crimson silk skirt, to the rainbow-striped jacket, delicate socks embroidered with flowers, to the hair ribbon of red and gold.”

2 thoughts on “New Clothes for New Year’s Day by Hyun-Joo Bae

  1. I read this book to my girls three years ago. It was lovely. We like China and Japan portrayed in picture books. Currently we are crazy about Little Pear books, by Eleannor F. Lattimore.

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