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The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy: A Korean Folktale

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"A long time ago in Korea, there was not enough light.It was before the sun and the moon had been created." So begins one of the most treasured folktales of Korea. Reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, this ancient tale reveals how a hungry tiger tries to trick a young boy and girl into thinking that he is their mother. But their sharp wits and a measure of good luck are "A long time ago in Korea, there was not enough light.It was before the sun and the moon had been created." So begins one of the most treasured folktales of Korea. Reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, this ancient tale reveals how a hungry tiger tries to trick a young boy and girl into thinking that he is their mother. But their sharp wits and a measure of good luck are enough to save the children and reunite them with their mother, high above in the sky. Together, they bring the first rays of sunlight and moonlight to the world below. Having heard this story told many times by her grandmother, Yangsook Choi now brings her own voice and breathtaking oil paintings to The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy. With them, she shares an important part of her childhood and the Korean tradition.  


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"A long time ago in Korea, there was not enough light.It was before the sun and the moon had been created." So begins one of the most treasured folktales of Korea. Reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, this ancient tale reveals how a hungry tiger tries to trick a young boy and girl into thinking that he is their mother. But their sharp wits and a measure of good luck are "A long time ago in Korea, there was not enough light.It was before the sun and the moon had been created." So begins one of the most treasured folktales of Korea. Reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, this ancient tale reveals how a hungry tiger tries to trick a young boy and girl into thinking that he is their mother. But their sharp wits and a measure of good luck are enough to save the children and reunite them with their mother, high above in the sky. Together, they bring the first rays of sunlight and moonlight to the world below. Having heard this story told many times by her grandmother, Yangsook Choi now brings her own voice and breathtaking oil paintings to The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy. With them, she shares an important part of her childhood and the Korean tradition.  

30 review for The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy: A Korean Folktale

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ronyell

    I have been reading many Korean folktales over the years, but “The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy” was definitely one unique tale that I had just recently read! “The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy” contains elements of “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids,” except in this version, it is a tiger who threatens the children of this story! In this story, when a woman leaves her two children at home to go to the market, she unfortunately encounters a tiger who wants to eat her corn c I have been reading many Korean folktales over the years, but “The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy” was definitely one unique tale that I had just recently read! “The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy” contains elements of “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids,” except in this version, it is a tiger who threatens the children of this story! In this story, when a woman leaves her two children at home to go to the market, she unfortunately encounters a tiger who wants to eat her corn cakes. But when the Tiger eats all of the woman’s cakes, he ends up eating her and putting on her clothes to fool her children. After reading other versions of “Little Red Riding Hood” like Lon Po Po which is a Chinese version of the classic story, I was interested in reading more different versions of “Little Red Riding Hood.” Imagine my delight when I finally stumbled upon a Korean version of “Little Red Riding Hood” and this story was just as fantastic as the other “Little Red Riding Hood” versions I had read! Yangsook Choi did a fantastic job at writing this story as the story was both intense and beautiful at the same time. I loved the way that Yangsook Choi allowed the story to teach children to be careful of letting strangers into their homes and the consequences that may come with it. I think that it made the story even more effective to read through and parents can easily warn their children about the dangers of letting strangers into their homes. I also loved the Korean elements in this story as Yangsook Choi had an excellent author’s note at the end of this book that explains how this story was close to her and I always loved the fact that such stories are close to an author’s heart. Yangsook Choi’s illustrations were just beautiful as the tiger is drawn so realistically that its presence really brings a threatening atmosphere to the story. I also loved the way that the illustrations have a glow on each character and setting as it makes the illustrations so gorgeous and effective to look at! Parents should know that a character gets eaten in this story and the story has an intense atmosphere that might frighten young children. Also, the ending of this story might seem a bit unclear for smaller children since not much was clearly stated about what happened to the characters in the end. Parents might want to read this book before they show it to their children. Overall, “The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy” is a truly fantastic folktale for anyone who loves reading folktales from Korea. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scenes with the Tiger threatening the children might scare smaller children. Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melody Schwarting

    Choi's grandmother told her this tale growing up, and wrote it down to preserve the story. The heart comes through, and I really enjoyed the tale of how the sun and moon came to be in Korean folklore. There are some frightening elements (a tiger tries to dupe the children into thinking he is their mother, similar to Little Red Riding Hood) but a sweet conclusion. The illustrations are simple but effective, often using dramatic composition to highlight narrative tension. Choi's grandmother told her this tale growing up, and wrote it down to preserve the story. The heart comes through, and I really enjoyed the tale of how the sun and moon came to be in Korean folklore. There are some frightening elements (a tiger tries to dupe the children into thinking he is their mother, similar to Little Red Riding Hood) but a sweet conclusion. The illustrations are simple but effective, often using dramatic composition to highlight narrative tension.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    The Sun Girl and The Moon Boy by Yangsook Choi tells the story of a time when there was no sun or moon only darkness and terrifying animals rule. A terrible tiger kills a girl and boy’s mother and dresses as her to trick them but as they escape from the tiger, they climb to the sky and become the sun and moon to light the world below. The beautiful illustrations use light and dark to great effect in order to portray the mood and emotions of the scenes. This retold Korean folktale would do well f The Sun Girl and The Moon Boy by Yangsook Choi tells the story of a time when there was no sun or moon only darkness and terrifying animals rule. A terrible tiger kills a girl and boy’s mother and dresses as her to trick them but as they escape from the tiger, they climb to the sky and become the sun and moon to light the world below. The beautiful illustrations use light and dark to great effect in order to portray the mood and emotions of the scenes. This retold Korean folktale would do well for children aged in early to middle grades in school. They will appreciate the similarity to the European variation of the Little Red Riding Hood and emotive illustrations that bring them into the story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Penate

    I loved reading this Korean folktale and comparing it to traditional literature that I grew up reading. It was a great story on how Korean’s believe that the sun, moon, and stars were created.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Lovejoy

    What a delightful book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Aryehl

    This book is an interesting take on how the sun and moon were created. Children will enjoy this red riding-hood-esk tale and may enjoy drawing connections between this and other folktales within my set that describe how celestial objects came to be. The plot is rich and full of suspense. The pictures are beautiful and have elicited interesting predictions about what will happen next from students with whom I have shared this tale. This is a great story for early readers and contains many example This book is an interesting take on how the sun and moon were created. Children will enjoy this red riding-hood-esk tale and may enjoy drawing connections between this and other folktales within my set that describe how celestial objects came to be. The plot is rich and full of suspense. The pictures are beautiful and have elicited interesting predictions about what will happen next from students with whom I have shared this tale. This is a great story for early readers and contains many examples of rich language and tier-two vocabulary. the ending seems a little "off" compared to the rest of the story and can be difficult to interpret, or rather, can be interpreted in many different ways. For that I give this book four starts.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Winta

    This is an interesting folktale. The siblings in the book lose their mother to a sly and hungry tiger and later see her as the stars when they become the sun and moon. The author notes how her grandma always told her this story, and she decided to write it down when her grandmother was starting to forget things. All children 1st-3rd grade can enjoy making a story from a saying or tale their parents have told them.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lde212_06

    The Sun Girl and the Moon Boy is a folktale is a good book for teachers to have on their book shelves. It teaches the children about folktales while adding an element of diversity to the classroom. Often times many cultures will have similar folktales that have small variations. Teachers could use a book such as this to help bring the gap between two cultures.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    International Book (a Korean tale). Themes- Not trusting strangers, a mother's love for her children, spreading light and love in the world. Classroom Use- Read with students as an example of origin tales- stories that explain how something came to be. Have students write their own origin tales for something in nature (tornadoes, rain... anything). International Book (a Korean tale). Themes- Not trusting strangers, a mother's love for her children, spreading light and love in the world. Classroom Use- Read with students as an example of origin tales- stories that explain how something came to be. Have students write their own origin tales for something in nature (tornadoes, rain... anything).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marianna

    A Korean folktale about how the moon, sun and stars came to be. I'm guessing this story is more lyrical in it's original language. In translation, it seemed to lose the magical quality usually associated with these types of stories. A Korean folktale about how the moon, sun and stars came to be. I'm guessing this story is more lyrical in it's original language. In translation, it seemed to lose the magical quality usually associated with these types of stories.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karelle Royal

    Summary: When a hungry tiger tries to trick two kids for food by pretending to be their mother, the children stick together and reuite with their mother in a unique way. -folktale -Korean -happy endings

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kiera

    Interesting folktale. Nice illustrations and could be used in the classroom as part of a culture learning activity.

  13. 5 out of 5

    M

    This is a Korean version of Little Red Riding Hood.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Grace

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

  18. 4 out of 5

    The Styling Librarian

  19. 4 out of 5

    Agus Evi

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chol

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kris

  22. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

  23. 5 out of 5

    Darlene Palaubsanon

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megan Green

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jill Mcpartland

  26. 5 out of 5

    Polar Bear Star

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Yi

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ilana

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gce123 Culbertson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Diana

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