The Love of Two Stars: A Korean Legend

by Retold and illustrated by Janie Jaehyun Park
32 pages,
ISBN: 0888996721

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The review of: The Love of Two Stars: A Korean Legend
by Olga Stein

It's always a good idea to come back to stories which have persisted through time. A legend that has survived for centuries must have some everlasting spark to it. When such legends go through a successful retelling and gain the benefit of excellent illustrations, the product is a worthwhile book for young readers. Janie Jaehyun Park has taken an ancient Korean legend about a great love between two members of the kingdom of stars. To earth-dwellers, these two are the stars Altair and Vega, but in the kingdom up above, they are Kyonu, a cattle farmer, and Jingnyo, a weaver. Each is a conscientious worker and a valuable contributor to the heavenly community. But all that changes once Kyonu and Jingnyo meet. They fall so deeply in love that their daily tasks and obligations are forgotten. They bask in each other's company, while those who rely on the steers raised by Kyonu and the cloth made by Jingnyo begin to suffer. Seeing this irresponsible behaviour, the king of the starry realm punishes them. They are separated and allowed to meet only once per year. When the appointed day at last arrives, the eager lovers discover that they can't cross the river of stars. Their desperate tears flood the earth until the magpies and crows find a way to assist them. The legend gives new meaning to Shakespeare's words, "Parting is such sweet sorrow." Look up this book to see why.

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