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MINJI'S SALON


AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR: Eun-hee Choung
AGE GRP: 3-5 yrs
SPANISH language edition also available

“An ode to the power of children's imaginations (and their parents' patience), Minji's Salon reminds readers that creativity and play are worldwide phenomena.”
is what the publisher Kane Miller rightly claims.

Yet another book on pretend-playing and dress-up that I got my hands on, but the overdose doesn’t seem to tire my 4 year old girl!

A simple story line. Mother visits the local salon for a vivid red color and a fancy haircut. Daughter creates a make-believe salon at home assuming the role of the stylist. The guinea pig is her dog companion at home. Smell chaos already? Wait until you see what Minji is up to.

Something really neat in the book is the juxtaposition of equivalent scenes, the city salon on one side and Minji’s home base on the other. This presentation makes it easy for the child to get a grasp of the hilarious on goings in parallel. While the rendezvous of the mom with her stylist progresses on the left, Minji’s date with her canine friend evolves on the right. Similar drill, dialogues and drama. An ice-cream concoction for color, crayons for holding the fuzz, generous use of water colors – all to simulate the hairdresser’s paraphernalia and perform the shear act on her own specimen. Can you imagine the predicament of the dog? Visuals just enough to make the little reader giggle or guffaw.

Another observation would be the fact that mom’s proceedings happen in a confined rectangular window while Minji’s play has no defined boundaries (on the pages), clearly portraying how a child’s imagination has no bounds, whatsoever! And this is the central idea of the book.

Mom is back, pretty and perky. Her initial shock softens into surprise and then a sweet tolerance takes over even as she stands there encompassed in total mess. A feeling that mothers all around the world can comfortably relate to.

“ My goodness! Are you the owner of the salon?”
“Yes Madam. Would you like to make an appointment?”

We see no end to Minji’s frolic. However the book comes to an end with a picture of Minji staring at a mannequin through the glass window of a city store, not to forget the bright red oversized stilettos she has gotten herself into!

Eun-hee Choung lives in South Korea, academically qualified in art and illustration. And I can safely conclude that she has done adequate justice to the above fact in Minji’s salon where visuals dominate text.
Meera Sriram