Title: Yellow Umbrella
Format: Hardcover with accompanying CD
Author/Illustrator: Jae-Soo Liu
Composer: Dong Il Sheen
Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Pub; Har/Com edition (2002)
Language: English / Wordless / song lyrics in Korean
This simple story follows colorful umbrellas as they make their way through the streets on a rainy day. The muted colours of the rainy city are broken up by bright splashes of colour that are the umbrellas as seen from above. Who is under each umbrella? Where are they going? On each page, the number of umbrellas increase in number and the accompanying piano music, which the reader is asked to listen to as they "read" the pictures in the book, gets increasingly complex and descriptive. Pages with many circular shapes (a number of open umbrellas around a fountain as seen from above) are accompanied by circular music. A page showing umbrellas waiting for a train attracts music that invokes that train as it passes. Only at the end of the book do the owners of the umbrellas and their destination become revealed.
For students who have never had experience of other cultures, this book is nonetheless a beautifully crated book that interacts well with the accompanying music. Whether or not it would be used as a "read aloud" in kindergartens and schools would be up to the creativity of the teacher and the available time to listen to the music. Two options are given for the music - the "read aloud" version which takes snippets from the music broken up with silence to indicate page turns (THANK YOU for not including a chintzy bell sound), and the full piece of music for each page which would take considerably longer. The song is also included, sung in Korean and translated in English with the sheet music printed. As a mother-child read aloud, I think this book is simply beautiful and would be a good choice for bedtime in order to quiet the mood. While there is very little action in this book, it is a moving depiction of childhood independence in an increasingly controlled world.