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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Minji’s Salon

 Julie M. O’Brien, art teacher at Hermitage Elementary School in Nashville, TN, shares her perspective as to why books sometimes need a second read. 

Minji’s Salon by Eun-hee Choung 978 1 933605 67 8 Minjis SalonKane/Miller Book Publishers

Who doesn’t remember going somewhere as a child with one’s Mom or Dad, and wanting to do the thing that they did? How important their mundane tasks seem to an on-looking child. 

Minji watches her Mom take a trip to the beauty shop, and watches carefully as the consultation, color choices, mixing, snipping curling, dying and styling ensues. We as the readers are aware of just how carefully Minji is watching; recording every move in her imagination, because on one side, we see Mom getting her hair styled, and on the other, we see Minji’s dog getting Minji’s version of what she saw at the salon. She has a patient friend in the dog, which endures Minji’s version of the salon- mixing, styling and accessorizing.   

The illustrations are sweet, and add a great deal to the telling of the story, which the artist in me appreciates. Admittedly, I had to read the story a couple of times before I really caught the charm of it. It wasn’t as “flashy” as some of the other books I’ve come across. However, as I read and re-read it, I began to appreciate this story for the concept of rituals that I feel could be addressed in the reading of this story. 

So often, I try to teach lessons about memories and rituals, and students either don’t understand the concept or get stuck in holiday memories.   In short, I get a lot of Christmas pictures, with triangle trees, and square presents. 

I like that this story illustrates a daily ritual that perhaps Minji will associate with her mother. Reading this story to a group may help open students’ minds to what a ritual can be. Also, the concepts of imagination, pretending, and fantasy could be tied in with this book. 

So I guess in this book, I was reminded that sometimes you have to read a book a couple of times before you make your judgment.