cover image Older Brother, Younger Brother

Older Brother, Younger Brother

Nina Jaffe. Viking Children's Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-85645-9

Goodness is rewarded and cruelty punished in this staple of Korean folklore, an archetypal tale of two brothers. When their father dies, elder brother Nolbu, greedy and mean-spirited, inherits the family property and banishes big-hearted younger brother Hungbu, his wife and three children. Hungbu's destitution doesn't change his generous nature, and when he shows kindness to a tiny injured swallow, he is magically rewarded with great prosperity. Envious Nolbu seeks out the same good fortune-and wreaks his own downfall. Hungbu, forgiving, takes in Nolbu, who mends his ways. Jaffe's (In the Month of Kislev) retelling of this classic tale is eloquent yet concise, with just the right amount of scene-setting detail. Ma (The Painted Fan), favoring a soothing, predominantly pastel palette, gracefully interprets the story with atmospheric watercolors. Ages 3-8. (June)