Once Upon a Time in Korea : An Elementary Reader
Author: In Ku Kim-Marshall
“Once Upon a Time in Korea” is an easy Korean reader. It is written in Hangul, so it assumes that the reader has had some previous training in Korean. That being said, the grammar being presented is incredibly simple and geared towards beginning students. The form of speech presented is the highly formal style.
The book itself is a collection of folk tales, which are often humorous and always include a moral. It is more or less a Korean version of “Aesop’s Fables”. The pictures that accompany the stories are also very uniquely illustrated. Although this may make the book seem childish for some, it also serves to create a more natural and less formal learning experience. This aspect also allows the reader to gain some insight into Korean culture and values. Overall, the presentation of the book is fantastic.
The stories are not translated line-for-line into English. Instead, at the end of each story a list of key words and their English translations is included. These lists are always extensive and cover the vocabulary and grammar thoroughly. On occasion, some simple conjunctions are excluded. So those with an extremely limited knowledge of Korean may benefit from a dictionary.