Say Hello? by Sung Mi Kim. Translated by Clare Richards. Berbay Publishing, 2022. 9781922610492
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Format: Hardcover picture book
What did you like about the book? Little Fox and Mr. Wolf are new next-door neighbors. On a morning when they’re both in a bad mood, greeting one another just isn’t in the cards. But they both think they should have said something. The next time they see each other, Little Fox says, “Hello, Mr. Wolf!” and bows (this is a Korean import, after all.) But Mr. Wolf doesn’t see him, and Little Fox’s feelings are hurt. Mr. Wolf decides to greet Little Fox the next time he sees him, but Little Fox ignores him. The awkwardness and missed connections go on, until Mr. Wolf moves out, and both are grateful that the uncomfortableness is over. Sometime later, the two run into one another, and they finally say hello. They both think, “That really wasn’t so hard.”
This comedy of errors is a familiar and relatable story. The inner thoughts of the two characters as they assume the worst about each other are so funny, accentuated by their facial expressions. The author does a great job conveying these inner snarky thoughts and assumptions. This must be a great translation, because the language feels natural and current. The spare black and white line art, with only Little Fox in red and Mr. Wolf in Blue, has sinuous fine lines and keeps the focus on the two characters and their thoughts.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? This could be a fun read aloud for unit on manners or friendliness for 6-8 year olds.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Near the top
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: September 28, 2022