Yoo, Taeeun

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Yoo, Taeeun


Born in Seoul, Korea; immigrated to United States. Education: Attended Hong Ik University (Korea); School of Visual Arts Illustration, M.F.A.


Home and office—New York, NY. Agent—Pippin Properties, Inc., 155 E. 38th St., Ste. 2H, New York, NY 10016. E-mail—[email protected].


Author and illustrator. Creator of book cover illustrations.

Awards, Honors

Society of Illustrators Founder's Award, 2007, and Marion Vannett Ridgeway Award, 2008, both for The Little Red Fish.



The Little Red Fish, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.


Shirin Yim Bridges, The Umbrella Queen, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Alison McGhee, Only a Witch Can Fly, Feiwel and Friends (New York, NY), 2009.

Contributor to periodicals, including Cricket, Spider and Ladybug.


Born in Korea, Taeeun Yoo enjoyed growing up in a close-knit, multigenerational family that preserved many Korean traditions, including storytelling, costume-

making, and the art of bonsai. After studying Korean brush painting, she moved to New York City to complete a graduate degree in illustration, and there she gained the skill in etching that she showcases in her first illustrated book for children. Praised by Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan, The Little Red Fish features Yoo's detailed etched illustrations, tinted in grey and sepia tones and bound in scarlet.

Written in honor of Yoo's grandfather, The Little Red Fish finds a young boy named JeJe exploring his grandfather's library, a magical place located in the middle of a deep forest. With the boy is his small red fish, a bright spot in Yoo's sepia-toned images. After taking a short nap, the boy awakes to find that the fish has dived into the magical books lining the library's walls, and JeJe quickly follows, in search of his tiny pet. "The boy's fantastical experiences will resonate with reader," predicted School Library Journal contributor Genevieve Gallagher, while in Kirkus Reviews a contributor maintained that Yoo's "pictures are worth a thousand words in this fantastical tale." Praising Yoo's book for its "haunting" presentation, a Publishers Weekly critic added that the author/illustrator's "exhilarating visual images don't really need words." The picture story in The Little Red Fish draws readers "to a place beyond language," the critic added, "and shutting the book feels like awakening from a dream."

In addition to her original picture book, Yoo has also created illustrations for other authors, among them Shirin Yim Bridges' picture book The Umbrella Queen and Alison McGhee's Only a Witch Can Fly In The Umbrella Queen Yoo brings to life the story of a young girl who is learning the tradition of umbrella painting. Passed on through the generations in Noot's Thai village, these detailed paintings are judged every year by the king and an Umbrella Queen selected to lead the annual New Years' Day parade. In hopes that she will receive this honor, Noot follows the stylized drawing technique taught by her mother and grandmother, but soon her imagination takes over. Although her family is dismayed, the girl continues to follow her creative muse, According to a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "Yoo's delicate linoleum print-and-pencil illustrations … have an entirely distinctive feel," giving Bridges' text both "warmth and energy."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, April 15, 2007, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Little Red Fish, p. 49.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007, review of The Little Red Fish, p. 131; May 15, 2008, review of The Umbrella Queen.

Publishers Weekly, April 9, 2007, review of The Little Red Fish, p. 53.

School Library Journal, May, 2007, Genevieve Gallagher, review of The Little Red Fish, p. 112.


Pippin Properties Web site,http://www.pippinproperties.com/ (July 2, 2008), "Tae-Eun Yoo."

Taeeun Yoo Home Page,http://www.taeeunyoo.com (July 2, 2008).