Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bee-Bim Bop!

Bee-Bim Bop!Park, Linda Sue. 2005. Bee-Bim Bop! Ill. by Ho Baek Lee. New York: Clarion.
ISBN 13: 9780618265114.

PLOT SUMMARY
What does a hungry little girl want for dinner? Bee-bim bop! A little girl can hardly wait as she helps Mama purchase ingredients and prepare bee-bim bop, a traditional Korean dish, for her family. The process is as much fun as the result!

CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Bee-Bim Bop! is a delightful story for young audiences. The text reflects the fast-paced urgency of a hungry child in an upbeat rhyming rhythm, "Hurry, Mama, hurry Gotta chop chop chop! Hungry - very hungry for some bee-bim bop!" The "Hurry, Mama, hurry" refrain is repeated often. In addition to pure fun, Bee-Bim Bop! will give children a sense of possibility and capability, "Spinach, sprouts, and carrots Each goes in a pan, Let me pour the water in Yes, I know I can!" and"Bowls go on the table Big ones striped in blue I help set the glasses out Spoons and chopsticks too." Adding interest and excitement is the concrete presentation of verbs pertaining to cooking. The "flip-flip flop" of the egg pancakes bounces in the midst of the text. "Chop chop chop" appears on a hard 45 degree slant, much as a chopping blade in motion.The book is also an excellent example of a Korean American multicultural story with its roots set firmly within the United States. The child's family, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee, has the common characteristics of Asian Americans - tan skin tones, straight black hair and a characteristic eye shape, however, the features are never exaggerated and the family is portrayed as any other typical US family, complete with a frisky dog. The grocery store and kitchen setting, as well as the clothing are typically American. The focus is on the young girl, with Mama's head frequently missing from the double-page illustrations. The dog also is featured prominently, following the young girl throughout the kitchen. The colors are bright, but realistic. The overall impression of the cheerful watercolor and pencil illustrations is one of a happy and playful family.The topic of the book, is of course, distinctively Korean American, as is the use of chopsticks. Grandma is the only family member that appears decidedly Korean, wearing a traditional garment, with her hair fixed neatly in a bun with a decorated ornament. The fact that the entire family wears slippers while indoors may also be indicative of Asian American culture. In a nod to biculturalism, the family (except the dog, who keeps one eye fixed upon the bee-bim bop!) closes their eyes and bows their heads to say grace before dinner.The book concludes with a recipe for bee-bim bop, divided into tasks for "grownups" and "you." An Author's Note explains bee-bim bop and is accompanied by a photograph of the author and her young relatives preparing dinner. This book will surely ignite a desire to hurry hurry hurry to the kitchen to make some bee-bim bop!

CONNECTIONS
Read Bee-Bim Bop! with The Trip Back Home by Janet S. Wong, and Ill. by Bo Jia. The Trip Back Home includes a trip to the market and the preparation of a meal in a modern, rural Korean household. Many of the ingredients mentioned are the same as those in the dish, bee bim bop. It offers an excellent example of how traditions are brought to the United States and adapted.This is an excellent choice for a public library storytime. Preschoolers will love it!Share this story with a globe. Let children find bee-bim bop's home, Korea, on the globe.

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