The Turtle Ship
Long ago in Korea, a young boy named Sun-sin spent his days playing with his pet turtle Gobugi and dreaming of sailing around the world. As a poor villager, though, his dream to travel seemed impossible. Then one day, the king's court announced a contest to find the best design for a new battleship to defend the land from invaders. The winner would sail the ocean with the royal navy.
Determined to win, Sun-sin attempts to build an indestructible battleship with a few found items. Each attempt fails miserably against the powerful sea, and with it Sun-sin's dream also sinks to the bottom. Turning to Gobugi for comfort, Sun-sin notices how his pet turtle is small but mighty, slow but steady, and impossible to sink. Suddenly, Sun-sin has a great idea.
Loosely based on the true story of Admiral Yi Sun-sin and his Turtle Ship, this delightful tale by debut author Helena Ku Rhee and debut illustrator Colleen Kong-Savage introduce young readers to a fascinating episode in Korean history and naval engineering.
- Hardback | 32 pages
- 211 x 269 x 8mm | 408g
- 05 Jun 2018
- Shen's Books
- New York City, United States
- Illustrations, unspecified
Rhee's smoothly paced story arc will read aloud well, while Kong-Savage's striking, precise paper-collage scenes are equally effective in conveying the sweeping drama of ocean views and the personality and warmth in close-ups of Gobugi's small, green face. An afterword about the story's historical roots closes this engaging tale with a strong STEM focus from two debut creators. -- Publishers Weekly
Loosely based on the life of Yi Sun-Sin, a Korean admiral in the 1500s, the story of an inquisitive boy who takes inspiration from his pet turtle [Gobugi] to design an iconic battle ship. Rhee economically narrates Sun-sin's many trial and errors until the boy finally realizes the advantages of Gobugi's natural adaptations and presents his ideas to court. Despite initial resistance and mockery, the royal court witness Gobugi's natural defenses in action against a cat and commissions the titular Turtle Ship. The splendor of Kong-Savage's paper collages adds to the storytelling with rich overlapping compositions and patterns. The subsequent successes of Adm. Yi Sun-Sin and his Turtle Ships are rendered beautifully in thoughtfully composed land- and seascapes. [T]his debut packs a double punch modeling the experimental process while spotlighting an intriguing historical figure and his warcraft. -- Kirkus Reviews
About Helena Ku Rhee
COLLEEN KONG-SAVAGE is a full-time illustrator and graphic designer. When she first moved to New York City, Kong-Savage worked at an art supply store, where she spent half her paycheck on decorative papers. For this debut picture book, she spent countless hours researching the clothes, living conditions, and landscape of the Joseon Dynasty, and then finding the right paper for each item. The papers used in this book come from around the world, including Korea where traditional paper is handmade from mulberry bark. Kong-Savage lives in New York City. You can visit her online at kongsavage.com.