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The Rabbit's Judgment Hardcover – March, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based on a Korean tale, this striking work, a picture book debut for author and artist, questions the thorny nature of justice. When a man agrees to rescue a tiger from a deep pit, he exacts a promise that the starving beast will not eat him. On gaining his freedom, however, the tiger is overwhelmed by hunger and forgets to be grateful. An ox and a pine tree are called upon to arbitrate, and soon it becomes clear that man as a species is not very popular (" 'What do men know about gratefulness?' said the pine tree. ' . . . It takes us years to grow big but when we do you cut us down' "). At last a clever--and sympathetic--rabbit chances by. The text, rendered in deadpan prose and in Korean characters, highlights amusingly eloquent interchanges, while arrestingly skewed illustrations in a rich, natural palette illuminate the story's childlike wisdom. A sophisticated mix of oils, pencils and collage, Heo's outstanding art mingles fresh naivete with subtle folksiness. Each spread teems with insect- and bird-life, small figures filled with the graceful nobility of symbols. Her tiger, for all his greed, has child-appeal; he is a combination of the Cheshire Cat, a Lane Smith beastie with a touch of Chagall thrown in. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-6-A Korean variant on the "ungrateful beast" motif. A man helps a tiger out of a pit, after which the animal seeks to devour him. The man protests and the two of them ask a pine tree, an ox, and finally a rabbit to decide who is right. The tree and the ox judge in the tiger's favor. The rabbit, however, is able to trick the tiger back in the pit, and the man continues on his way. Han gives this cautionary tale a lively, colloquial retelling; the dialogue is especially good. Heo's winsome illustrations employ oils, pencil, and collage. The humor of the story is underscored by these pictures, which are reminiscent of Lane Smith's work. Insects and bizarre little animals crawl through the backgrounds, and the tiger and ox resemble carved potatoes. Browns and yellows predominate; composition is strong, particularly in the frames in which the just-freed cat encircles the man and when the ox describes his species' slavery. The flabbergasted expression and body language of the bested tiger in the last picture is positively droll. This fine collaboration is enhanced by the complete Korean text on every page.
John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Hardcover: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (March 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805026746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805026740
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,974,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Silas on April 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I read this book to my class of third graders. This is a trickster-tale, of sorts, from Korea. The story is well stated and easy to understand and the illustrations are wonderful. Yumi Heo has a distinct style that is magical, primitive, and quirky. We loved it! And it was a definite bonus to have the Korean text too. Even if we couldn't read it- it set the story in a cultural context. What a little gem!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "bellefleur01" on August 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I stumbled upon this book at a local library and as my in-laws are Korean-American I bought it for one of my nieces. I think my sister-in-law liked it more than her daughter. My mother-in-law didn't recall this tale exactly, but said that stories of wise animals are quite common in Korea. The pictures are a little too primative for my taste, but I liked the story and the fact that it was bi-lingual, which is nearly impossible to find in any language, nevermind in Korean/English. The layout is nice with Korean on one side, English on the other. I bought another copy for a friend that just adopted a little Korean girl and for my own daughter. I've never been able to find anything else like it (except for the other book that Ms Han wrote also involving wise animals).
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