ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits Children's Book Review

Updated on June 3, 2011
Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits cover. Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska. This tender and genuine tale about the magic of Christmas traditions will have you tugging at your hankie before the story ends.
Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits cover. Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska. This tender and genuine tale about the magic of Christmas traditions will have you tugging at your hankie before the story ends.

What Do You Think?

Based on this review or your personal experience:

See results

Yoon and The Christmas Mitten ISBN 0374386889 is my favorite Christmas art book this year. This children's picture book tells the story of Yoon, a young Korean immigrant, who learns about some exciting new American Christmas traditions from the teacher at her new American School. Yoon grows increasingly excited about stories of "Mr. Santa Claus" and Christmas trees with bright twinkling lights. Author Helen Recorvits gets the feel of a young child's sense of awe and wonder just right, while creating the story's main tension by also presenting Yoon's parents' discomfort with the new traditions.

Each day, after Yoon comes home with an excitement about a newfound Christmas tradition, Yoon's parents remind her that "we're not a Christmas family." Gently but firmly, Yoon's mother explains that they will honor their Korean custom of celebrating the New Year by visiting family friends and sharing a delicious meal. Yoon remains excited and hopeful by the prospect of Christmas presents and a visit from Santa Claus, but her parents are firm in their desire to celebrate as they did in Korea.

When Yoon begs her parents to allow her to leave out one of her small mittens for Santa to fill, Yoon's parents have a change of heart. The resolution to the story is a heart-tugging, hankerchief-grabbing moment that will have you saying "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!"

Author Helen Recorvits characterizes Yoon's little family in a sensitive and truthful light in Yoon and the Christmas Mitten. This is not the story of a Korean family converting to Christianity (as religion doesn't play a part in it), nor is it a story that presents Yoon's parents as uncaring. She creates a strong sense of truth in her characterizations of a young and impressionable child who wants to experience the celebration of Christmas just as her classmates do. For Yoon, everything about Christmas seems magical. Yoon's parents merely wish to preserve their own heritage. This is a sensitive story about immigrants learning to adapt to a new culture, and working out how to bring in new Christmas traditions without giving up their old ones.

Admirably, Recorvits manages to give this story a completely stand-alone quality despite the fact that it is a follow-up to the Recorvits' other successful story about Yoon which is simply titled My Name Is Yoon.

I really enjoyed this book with its strong impressionistic oil paintings that use vibrant colors to depict Yoon, her family, and her imaginations of Santa Claus in contrast to muted and even drab greys and greens. The muted colors in the illustrations represent Yoon's exterior surroundings while the bright colors represent her rich inner life. On the first page of the story, Yoon is depicted turning toward the reader with a beautiful red hat and coat, flushed cheeks, and dark, rosebud lips. Yoon's red mittens and red dress give this book a strong Asian presence AND the feeling of Christmas. But she is depicted standing far away from the other children, with her hands in her pockets, against a background of smut-colored gray snow. Artist Gabi Swiatkowska adds an increased depth to the story through her artwork. Each of her pictures has a characteristic quality that balances realism with fantasy, and leaves the viewer with an impression of Yoon's separation from the other children. The artwork gives this book a complicated, textured feeling rather than a depressing one. The resolution to this story is lighthearted.

I'd give this book a strong recommendation for both teachers and parents who want to add a wonderful Christmas story to their book collection. This story doesn't have the cheesy, sappy, or overly sentimental feel that Christmas stories sometimes have. It is an excellent introduction to the concept that other cultures celebrate holidays in different ways than Americans, and yet it also shares the magic of some of the enjoyable American Christmas holiday traditions like Christmas Stockings and Santa Claus.

Buy These Helen Recorvits Books Online

My Name Is Yoon (Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, 2004)
My Name Is Yoon (Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, 2004)

My Name Is Yoon is the first in a series about young Korean immigrant to the U.S. This book has stunning and sensitive artwork that won the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award in 2004.

 

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • htodd profile image

    htodd 

    6 years ago from United States

    This is really very helpful ..Nice post

  • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Augustine 

    9 years ago from Iowa

    Thanks for commenting, sukhera143. Wishing you hub success!

  • sukhera143 profile image

    sukhera143 

    9 years ago from Home

    Good information.

  • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Augustine 

    9 years ago from Iowa

    Thanks Dohn. This book scores a 10 for both its beautiful artwork and a completely unique story. Thanks for your encouragement!

  • dohn121 profile image

    dohn121 

    9 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

    I've yet to read this one, wannabwestern! You did a wonderful job on writing this review. I'll be sure to read it soon, I promise! Keep up the great work! Thanks.

  • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Augustine 

    9 years ago from Iowa

    @Hello, hello: Thanks for reading my review. Keep trying and I know you'll find success.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    9 years ago from London, UK

    Christmas with all the magic. As old as I am I can't wait for it and love it. This is a lovely story. Thank you for writing this hub. I also written some Christmas' stories but it is so hard to find a publisher.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)