Written by Mark James Russell
256 pages – ages 8+
Published by Tuttle Publishing on May 12th 2015
Synopsis- Young-hee hated that her family was back in Korea. They had traveled abroad, but now they were back. Her dad was away and they lived in a run-down apartment. Add her annoying toddler-brother, Young-beom, into the mess, and Young-hee is miserable. But when she finds a doorway into a magical world, her life starts to turn around. When she brings Young-beom there, however, he gets tricked into being held captive by a goblin. To save him, Young-hee must go and travel to find a mysterious magical root called a pullocho. The only problem is that a pullocho hasn’t been seen in centuries…
What I Thought- This was a good book. Young-hee is a marvelous main character. You can really see how her character changes throughout the book, but it is subtle until the end then you realize the growth of the character. The book is a nice solid story with an interesting plot. I found some editing errors in the text throughout the story that are slightly distracting and a few instances where I thought some of the words in the story could be cut. I enjoyed the realistic writing style of Mr. Russell. I liked that he threw in a few Korean words into the story as it is based on Korean folklore. The story was compelling and the world created by Mr. Russell was exciting and described vividly. This was a cool multi-cultural story that many kids would enjoy. This is a debut MG story for Mr. Russell, I’d be quick to pick up his next.