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Review of Lady Hahn and Her Seven Friends

Lady Hahn and her Seven FriendsLady Hahn and Her Seven Friends
by Yumi Heo; illus. by the author
Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    32 pp.
4/12    978-0-8050-4127-9    $16.99    g

“Long, long ago when tigers still smoked pipes, there lived Lady Hahn.” Heo’s story, which originates from an unknown Korean author’s nineteenth-century classical essay, reads like a folktale: a straightforward telling, a simple refrain, inanimate objects that come to life, and a lesson about a universal desire. Lady Hahn is a seamstress, and her seven friends are her sewing tools. One day the friends argue about who is most important. Mrs. Ruler says she’s the reason Lady Hahn sews so well, but Newlywed Scissors asks what good is measuring if you can’t cut the silk, and so on until Lady Hahn, fed up, tosses her tools in her sewing box and takes a nap. The seven escape and hide, but when Lady Hahn begs them to return they realize she needs all of them, and from then on they all sew happily together. Heo’s pattern-filled art shows each of the friends in both their inanimate form and their humanlike self, which will help audiences with the less-familiar tools, such as a flatiron. Adding variety, clean white backgrounds alternate with pages covered with small details that give viewers plenty to pore over while listening to the tale — the story of wanting to feel needed and appreciated will resonate with young audiences.

From the May/June 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Jennifer M. Brabander

Jennifer M. Brabander is former senior editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

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