Book Review: Soomi’s Sweater by Susie Oh

This is a short and sweet picture book, but for me the illustrations are far superior to the story line. Susie Oh’s drawings have captured the soft, maternal feelings that I know so well from having raised two daughters of my own. I could feel the excitement from Soomi when she received a new sweater, obviously a gift, but we don’t find out who sent it to her. That would have been a nice detail to know.

As a long-time language arts teacher, I can’t help but search for theme and moral as I read a new piece of literature. This is where my struggle with Soomi’s Sweater started. What was the message? As I read, I kept waiting for it. As I scrolled past the last page, I wondered what Susie Oh really wanted me to take away from this book. Is it the special nature of a treasured gift? Is it not being able to wait for something to come, as in Soomi growing into the sweater? Is it that accidents happen and sometimes things just go wrong? Or, as the last few pages seem to indicate, is it that little girls have to run home to mommy to make things right?

This genteel story is beautifully illustrated, but the story left me wanting more, even from a children’s picture book. Give it a read and decide for yourself, and while you are at it, revel in the beauty of Susie Oh’s illustrations of Soomi and her mom.