cover image Father's Rubber Shoes

Father's Rubber Shoes

Yumi Heo. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06873-1

Yungsu is having trouble adjusting to his new home in the United States. His father, busy running the store, doesn't have time to play, and Yungsu misses his friends back in Korea. Father tries to ease the situation by sharing a story from his childhood, about a special pair of shoes. ``I want to give you something--like my rubber shoes, but something you can have all the time,'' Father says. ``That's why we're here. I hope you understand.'' Following this tender exchange, things begin to look better to Yungsu. Heo (One Afternoon) has wrapped the universal feelings of upheaval, alienation and homesickness that accompany any move around a story of one family's immigrant experience. In a subplot of sorts, she spotlights a traditional Korean dish, bulgogi, thereby providing authentic ethnic detail. Heo's oil-and-pencil paintings, rendered in predominantly warm orange and yellow hues, feature a cast of stylized human figures with rotund torsos and tiny feet. Her skillful compositions make use of varying perspectives, giving readers a bird's-eye view, an extreme closeup or a spread that's slightly askew, with objects floating in the background. In this smorgasbord of settings, the gentle-looking characters seem all the more expressive. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)