Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Maya and the Turtle: A Korean Fairy Tale

Han, Soma (Author/Illustrator)
Stickler, John C. (Author)
Tuttle 2012. 32 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9780804842778 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book
Book genre: Fairy Tale

Text Elements:

character, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

In this gentle retelling of a traditional Korean fairy tale, a girl named Maya lives humbly and happily in a small hut with her father. One day, she finds and lovingly adopts a baby turtle. The winter her father falls ill, she decides to sacrifice herself to a beastly centipede that is devouring the neighbouring village, in exchange for money to buy medicine for her father. But she must await her sacrifice and in true fairy tale style, her pet turtle turns out to be magical. It grows enormous and battles the evil creature to the death. As thanks from the Emperor, and true to a prediction made long ago by her mother, Maya is promised to the prince. And they live happily ever after.

Poetic watercolours depict traditional life in Korea and add a naïve, charming touch. Stylized images (of the enormous centipede, the black tangle of forest) lend a sense of foreboding.

Rich, descriptive language carefully describes atmosphere and emotion. The passing of time is used to great effect to build suspense. Detailed footnotes are interspersed throughout, with references to Korean life, from totem poles that chase away evil spirits to methods for heating floors.

A riveting tale of bravery, full of magic, suspense and insight into Korean culture and history.

  •  Share your prior knowledge of fairy tales. Make predictions about the characters, setting and plot based on common features of this genre.
  •  Browse the first few pages of the book, paying attention to the explanations of Korean terms and customs that accompany the text and illustrations. Why do you think the author chose to include these terms and explanations?
  •  As referenced in the author’s note, fairy tales were first passed on orally from generation to generation. Retell this story with a partner as it might have been passed down from a parent to a child.
  •  What do you think the theme of this fairy tale is? What other fairy tales share this theme? Use a graphic organizer to compare and contrast fairy tales from different cultures that share a similar message.
  •  

    Discuss the cover. Share your prior knowledge of fairy tales and list common features of the genre. Make predictions about the characters, setting and story based on these features.

  •  

    As referenced in the author’s note, fairy tales were first passed on orally from generation to generation. Retell this story with a partner as it might have been passed down from a parent to a child. Create a mind map of the story. Compare your mind map with that of another team.

  •  

    With a partner, create a character map for Maya.

  •  

    What familiar fairy tale can you compare to this one? Use a Venn diagram to show the commonalities and differences between the two stories.

  •  

    Find Korea on a map. What do you know about this country? From the story, what can you infer about the Korean people and their way of life? Conduct research on Korea today. Compare the two views of this country.

  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Geography, History and Citizenship