If you like folktales and legends, The Shade Tree is a great one to add to your collection. It takes a classic Korean folktale and updates it, while keeping a classic feeling. Suzy Lee’s story shows how a traveler tricks a rich man into selling him something that in the end, probably cannot be owned, but due to perception and the entitlement, the rich man thinks if he wants, he can own. And though he might have wealth he is lacking in many areas such as compassion.
The cleverness of the story shows how the traveler tricks the rich man into selling him the shade from the tree that grows on the rich man’s land. Whatever the shade touches is now owned by the traveler, and whomever he wishes to share it with. Lee’s text is sweet, and simple but powerful. This is due to the language itself, but Helen Mixter’s translation as well. The pace of the story can be a bit slower, so if you are looking for high powered action, this is not it.
Due in September 2023, this picture book is aimed at the older reader to the adult, due to the almost abstractness of the art. Though it is truly lovely. The colors are sharp, but not overly bold or bright. Things are minimal detailed but do not lack, allowing the story to have a modern and old-school flavor. As the publisher description says, this book is a story about one person’s quest to combat greed for the greater good.