cover image Jin Woo

Jin Woo

Eve Bunting. Clarion Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-93872-0

The team behind So Far from the Sea adds a layer of interest to this tale of a boy's ambivalence toward the arrival of a new sibling a baby adopted from Korea. ""I can hardly wait,"" David's mother says, when the family receives news of Jin Woo's impending arrival. David is not so eager: ""I can wait. I could wait longer."" With sensitivity and humor, Bunting charts the boy's emotional journey from uncertainty and dread to acceptance, as preparations for the new baby segue to the airport, where David and his parents finally spot Jin Woo ("" `I don't think that's the right one,' I say, hoping. Maybe they'll send him back""). David warms up to Jin Woo as he coaxes the first laugh from his new baby brother on the ride home from the airport, and the book ends with him giving a beloved duck mobile to Jin Woo after David is reassured that his parents have more than enough love to go around. If David's transformation feels a bit swift, Bunting nevertheless deftly plumbs the well of conflicting emotions, and Soentpiet's luminously realistic watercolors bolster her efforts. Whether portraying David's initially somber facial expressions, his unmistakable body language as he stands apart from his excited parents at the airport or the rosy-cheeked, cheerful Jin Woo, Soentpiet's illustrations light up the pages and root the story firmly in the affectionate fabric of everyday family life. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)