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What’s Good is GoodKim Yang-mi, Kim Hyo-eun

『What’s Good is Good』

Author : Kim Yang-mi
Illustrator : Kim Hyo-eun
Publisher : Sigong Junior
Publication date : November 30, 2019
Number of pages : 56
Format : 220x220mm
ISBN : 9788952789884

Kim Yang-mi, Kim Hyo-eun

Author: Kim Yang-mi She has written and illustrated the picture books Three Balloons and Five Balloons, and written the children’s books Jjinjjingun and Duppangdu, Hairball, and My Brother and I among others. She was the second recipient of the Ma Hae-song Literary Award. Illustrator: Kim Hyo-eun She has written and illustrated the picture book I Am The Subway and illustrated works such as (On A) Rainy Day, A 9-Year-Old’s Dictionary of Feelings, and My Brother and I.

Life is Discovering What’s Good


What’s good? In good food abide time, people, memories and longing. The picture book What’s Good is Good embodies the process of a young girl having good food and gradually realizing the multi-layered meanings of “good”.
It starts with observation. What do the cat, the cactus and the baby eat? What kind of food do Mom and Dad like? The story unfolds through food, somehow linking one to another, one after the other. Spaghetti is long; what’s long are noodles. If you eat noodles, you’ll live for a long time. Lemon juice is yellow; what’s yellow are pies. The moment you wonder where this winding story will lead, you arrive on a fold-out page of the kitchen scene. Aha, the little girl is sitting at the kitchen table where Mom is cooking, eating various food items and thinking this and that.
Crisp shrimp tempura is good, Mom smells good when you kiss her, food you share with friends always tastes good, and time spent with friends is so good it flies. The banana-flavored milk you drink after a swim with Dad tastes good—maybe even heavenly. This way, the child comes to realize that there is no limit to what is “good.” In the last scene, she matures as to tell her little brother self-assuredly that he has to eat a bowl of tteokguk (soup with rice-cake slices traditionally served on New Year’s Day) to grow a year older. Author Kim Yang-mi uses sensuous language to build up the various meanings to reach out to the hearts of her readers.
Kim Hyo-eun’s illustrations elevate and treat food as another main character of the book. To highlight the food, she uses line drawings on a blank background and colors only when needed. Then, on the pages that act as a border between the child’s thoughts and reality, colors are used to fill the whole spread. Thanks to this technique, the reader is able to perceive both what is real and imaginary from the illustration.
After eating some tasty food and thinking about what is “good,” the girl’s day is coming to an end. In the distance, the sun is setting on her neighborhood, and your eyes are drawn to the girl’s brightly lit house. The whole family is seated around, and Dad has made rice-cake soup for dinner. It is a heart-warming scene. Someday, when thinking about her happy childhood memorie, perhaps she will remember the rice-cake soup she had this day.


By Han Mi-hwa
book columnist

Translated by