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Waiting for Mama (English and Korean Edition) Hardcover – August 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: North-South Books; Bilingual edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English, Korean
  • ISBN-10: 0735821437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735821439
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.4 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2—Originally published in a Korean newspaper in 1938, this slight story tells of a very young boy waiting patiently for his mother at her streetcar stop. He asks one driver after another if she is coming, standing alone in the cold as daylight dims and snow begins to fall. The last wordless spread shows a snow-covered village with the tiny, almost imperceptible figures of a woman and child walking hand-in-hand through the storm. Readers need to look carefully at this spread to find the pair; otherwise the story is baffling and tragic. The Korean text, written in Hangeul, is accompanied by the English translation, although many pages are wordless. The lovely new pastel-and-ink illustrations depict life of the period. Some are simple ink drawings on ivory pages; others fill the pages with color and texture. The contrast is very pleasing. Changes in perspective effectively create movement and involvement. The text seems secondary to the setting and the art. An afterword on various details in the pictures is included. A worthwhile addition for its multicultural interest and its striking illustrations.—Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By H. Haarhaus on March 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
One should bear in mind the situation Korea went through when the story was published: At this time the Korean peninsula had already been occupied by Imperial Japan for over 30 years with no ending in sight (a rebellion had been put down brutally in 1919). Since 1905, the Japanese invaders were eager to erase any form of Korean traditions and assimilate the people to become second class Japanese. The Koreans had to take Japanese names and perform the Shinto rites. Korean was forbidden as an official language. Moreover, in 1938, Japanese began to compel Korean men to work in the factories located on the Japanese mainland and women as "comfort women" in military brothels.

The Korean intellectuals invented folk songs (e.g. Ommaya Nunaya - Mom Sis) and children stories in order to to circumvent censorship and demonstrate subtly the will of the people to sustain any hardship.

Seen in this light, the ending of the story is not so clear: Has Mom finally arrived to pick up her boy or is it just the boy`s dream? - Anyway, in Korean thinking snow is a symbol of hope.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By P. Heaphy on October 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The inside flap of this story says (in part) "Told in a few lines of text, the tender story 'Waiting for Mama'...will touch the heart. A small child waits for Mama at the streetcar station...In the last wordless spread, we see the child's small hand in his mother's firm grasp as they walk away from us".

I am a preschool teacher constantly looking for sweet stories, especially those that all children can relate to. The fact that this one takes place in Korea, has very little text, and is translated in English AND Korean made me eager to purchase it. The pictures are attractive, subtle, soft, some pen and ink, and shown in varying views. The front cover shows the most adorable small child, clearly younger than the children in my preschool classroom, and I expected that he was waiting for Mama to come home, like many children must. However, being written in a different time and place, this small child is waiting on a streetcar station, alone, while MANY trains come and go, and the sky grows dark and eventually snows. THe artist does an amazing job of depicting the small forlorn child patiently waiting...and waiting...for Mama to come.

And as I skim through the pages (before reading this to the class) I cannot find the final victory picture of Mama's hand clasped firmly in her childs. I read through it again with the same result, and finally ask another teacher to see if this story does indeed have the happy ending I'm expecting! She finds it like a "Where's Waldo?" picture - the last picture is a 2 page spread from a birds eye view of the roof tops and alleyways. It is done in green and white to show the setting sun and falling snow, and there is a tiny Mama and child, more obscure than the snow covered roof tops.

I have not yet decided if I am reading it to my class, but I will be sure to emphasize that Mama does indeed come home. I strongly wish that had been made more obvious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeani on December 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This story is so sweet... A simple tale of patience, obedience, and perseverance as a child waits for his mother at their streetcar stop. It is beautifully illustrated and one of our children's favorites. We started reading it to them when our oldest was under a year old, and they are now 6, 5, and 3. They still love it.

Some reviewers find it difficult to locate the reunited mother and child in the final spread, but my children all found it easily. Sure, by today's standards, esp. in western cultures, it may seem a bit scary for a young child to be waiting at a streetcar station, but when understood in its cultural and historical context, it makes much more sense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Kim on September 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book, and I'd recommend it to adults as well.
Consider that this story was written in the 30s (before WWII) in NK in a NEWSPAPER (ie: audience/intent/medium).
The story itself takes a whole different spin if we realize that those illustrations were not included until much later.
The illustrator took liberties in reconfiguring the ending. And yet, that doesn't bother me, because it lends another intriguing layer to how history and sentiments are rerouted and reexplained.

We must not forget NK.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My 3 yr old daughter loves this book. The illustrations were beautiful and captivated my little girls attention. Everyone talks about how the Mother never come back, but even my 3 yr old pointed out to me that "His Mommy came and he has a sucker!" I love this book and find it so wonderful that my mother (full korean) can sit and read it in Korean to her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Kim on April 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love this book! I especially love how there is both Korean and English text and can be read by myself and baby's grandparents. A simple, endearing story!
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By J. Y. on October 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are so few books in korean/english, that i bought it! However, as excited as I was to read it to my child, i was unhappy with the graphics and storyline that didn't seem to target children. At least not one less than 4 or maybe 5 yrs old. I am going to shelve it until maybe when she's 6-8, so she can understand it more (symbolism, looking for the happy ending, etc).
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