#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes Witches and Goddesses Dryads and Priestesses

[Monday Reading] Whimsy, Witches and Wisher-Granters in Picturebooks by Female Asian Creators

"Clever Little Witch" by Muon Thi Van and Illustrated by Hyewon Yum | "The Fox Wish" by Kimiko Aman and Komako Sakai.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community. 

When I read these two picturebooks via my Overdrive NLB subscription, I thought it would be good to pair them both for our current reading theme, as both involve whimsy, witches, and wish-granting. They also both involve two older sisters with younger brothers, and are created by female authors and illustrators of Asian ethnicity. I call this serendipity!

Clever Little Witch [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Mượn Thị Văn Illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books (2019)
ISBN: 1481481711 (ISBN13: 9781481481717). Borrowed via NLB Singapore Overdrive. Book photos from e-book.

The cleverest little witch on Mai Mai Island, named Little Linh is none-too-pleased with her new younger brother. To say that he annoys her would be an understatement, especially since he rides her broomstick without permission, and chews on her book of powerful spells.

She has pretty much tried everything, including offering her brother to trolls, werewolves, magical creatures, and the forest fairy queen who uses baby’s breath in her potions – but it looks like Little Linh is stuck with her brother for good.

That is, until she realized that she can actually turn her baby brother into a goldfish! Less noise, easier to take care of, and pretty to look at. However, despite her clever ways and her trusty book of spells, all her incantations seem to backfire!

Her brother has turned into a hopping frog, a barking seal, and a fiery dragon – but not the goldfish that she wanted. How the story ends, I shall leave for you to discover. Perfect for kids who are adjusting to a new sibling – or those who simply like casting spells and turning irritating humans into quiet, sedate animals. 🙂

The Fox Wish [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Kimiko Aman Illustrated by Komako Sakai
Published by Chronicle Books (2017, first published 2003)
ISBN: 1452151881 (ISBN13: 9781452151885) Borrowed via NLB Singapore Overdrive. Book photos from e-book.

The young girl Roxie has left her jump rope in the park and asked her younger brother, Lukie to come with her as she gets it back. However, as they reached the clearing, they found a most curious sight: A group of foxes having their tail tangled in a jump rope.

The foxes heard the two children before they saw them. Lukie and Roxie tiptoed out of the shadows and the foxes seemed relieved because they sensed that the kids could teach them how to do jump rope properly. As Roxie helped the foxes out, she noticed that the jump rope they were using was exactly the one she left behind!

However, before she could claim it as hers, one of the foxes excitedly told them that she found the jump rope and was now hers, as it has her name on it: Roxie! She said that it was a wish come true for her!

The premise of the book was deceptively simple, yet the ending made me sit up and take better notice. It reminded me of Oliver Jeffers’ This Moose Belongs To Me (see my review here) and also has resonances of Adrian Simcox Does Not Have A Horse by Marcy Campbell and Corinna Luyken (see Fats’ review here). There is a subtlety to this story that was as sweet as it was disarming. This will make for a lovely read-aloud to young children.

#WomenReadWomen2019: Mượn Thị Văn is from Vietnam but based in the US | Hyewon Yum is from Korea but based in the US.

42 (out of target 25): Japan (Kimiko Aman and Komako Sakai are both from Japan)

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

4 comments on “[Monday Reading] Whimsy, Witches and Wisher-Granters in Picturebooks by Female Asian Creators

  1. Sarah Sammis

    Both your books look lovely. I will request them from the library soon. My weekly update

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Clever Little Witch looks very cute and some children will relate to the “brother trouble”! I’ve read The Fox Wish and thought it was such a magical, fun story. Thanks, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really liked both books, and as you say The Clever Little Witch looks great for kids having issues with siblings. Thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I must say, I am immensely grateful for Overdrive. At least half of what I read is due to my library’s subscription to Overdrive. Now that my daughter is beginning to enjoy e-books, I can now let her view picture books from a device. It’s wonderful! I’ll have to see if we have The Fox Wish, locally. I like how they use two different fonts for dialogue. Thanks for the shares, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

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