________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 12 . . . . February 17, 2006


The Love of Two Stars: A Korean Legend.

Janie Jaehyun Park.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2005.
32 pp., cloth, $16.95.
ISBN 0-88899-672-1.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Helen Norrie.

**** /4


Finally the seventh day of the seventh moon month came around. Kyonu and Jingnyo rushed to meet each other in the Milky Way. But the river of stars was too wide and too deep for them to get across. There was no boat to carry them and no bridge for them to walk over. They called to each other, sobbing and crying in their desperation.


The Love of Two Stars is a retelling of a Korean legend about the stars Altair and Vega, or Kyonu and Jingnyo as they are called in Korea. The stars approach each other in the Milky Way on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. According to the legend, Kyonu was a farmer who raised strong cattle while Jingnyo was a weaver who wove the most beautiful and durable cloth. They both lived in a starry kingdom in the sky. Kyonu and Jingnyo fell in love, and because they neglected their duties in their infatuation, the King of the Star Kingdom banished them to opposite sides of the sky but relented enough to allow them to meet once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. But, although they came near each other, they could only cross the Milky Way with the help of thousands of magpies and crows who formed a bridge over the river fed by their tears.

internal art

     According to tradition, it always rains on this day, but the rains bring new crops and fresh life, and magpies and crows begin to molt at this time because their heads are bare from being stepped on as they formed a bridge.

     Janie Jaehyun Park was born in Korea and first heard this story from her grandmother. Her wording is fluent and, while occasionally formal, should be easily understood by young audiences. After coming to Canada, Park studied art at Sheridan College in Ontario, and she now teaches art. Her work in this picture book is done with acrylics on gessoed paper which gives intense colour with a background that is like textured wallpaper.

     The Love of Two Stars could be an interesting addition to a unit on folklore, or it could be used with older students in an astronomy lesson.

Highly Recommended.

Helen Norrie, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is a former teacher-librarian who has taught Children's Literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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