I’m sorry I missed a day! We had intermittent Internet outages in my neighborhood, courtesy of Hurricane Ida, but that was the only problem we had. We’re safe and sound, and I hope you all are, too. But now… back to the books!
Today, I’ve got a blog tour for you, and it is a good one. I give you… MAGIC CANDIES!
Magic Candies, by Heena Baek/Translated by Sophie Bowman,
(Sept. 2021, Amazon Crossing Kids), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542029599
Originally published in South Korea, Magic Candies is the story of Tong Tong, a shy young boy who plays marbles by himself… until he eats magic candies he buys at a candy store. Suddenly, Tong Tong hears voices everywhere – his couch, his dog, his overbearing father’s unspoken affection, even his dead grandmother! Hearing these voices leads Tong Tong to a new understanding and a new confidence that allows him to seek out a new friend.
The illustration is just incredible. Molded figures, textured scenery, it all gives the reader a feeling of watching a play, being placed in the story rather than passively watching. Tong Tong’s expressions inspire wells of empathy, from the side-splitting hilarity of the sofa’s revelations, to experiencing the heart-swelling joy of seeing him hug his previously assumed distant father, to the bittersweet emotions as he communicates with his grandmother, who assures him that the hereafter is just fine. The book is just a wonderful journey, transporting the reader, along with Tong Tong, to a magical world within our own day-to-day lives.
Magic Candies has a starred review from Kirkus.
★“Show-stopping spreads by Baek, similar to art by Red Nose Studio, feature molded, emotive figures in meticulously constructed scenery with miniature furniture, photographed under dramatic lighting—an effect startlingly close to animation. It’s a fully realized world that considers discerning meaning and making friends, while offering artwork that lingers in the memory.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“The enhanced artwork establishes depth and perspective…depictions of facial expressions are skillful and endearing, and the interplay between text and illustrations will cause readers to linger and ponder. An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Deeply touching, funny, and incredibly odd, this is the kind of picture book that gets you excited about picture books all over again…Magic Candies is so remarkable…a book that is both about giving voice to the voiceless and finding your own.” —Betsy Bird, School Library Journal
Heena Baek is an acclaimed picture book author and illustrator from South Korea. She won the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, a huge international award honoring the body of work of children’s book creators. She studied educational technology at Ewha Womans University and animation at the California Institute of the Arts. Utilizing her diverse animation production experience, Heena creates powerful and interesting picture books, often sculpting characters and building sets. She is the author and illustrator of a number of picture books, many of which have been translated and have received awards from South Korea and internationally. Follow her on Twitter @heenastory.
Sophie Bowman is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, studying Korean literature. She was awarded the ICF Literature Translation Fellowship at Ewha Womans University. In 2015, she won the Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Award grand prize for poetry with her translations of Jin Eun-young and co-translated Kim Bo-Young’s I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories. Follow her on Twitter @SophieOrbital.