Important! I am not an expert in any of the following topics. My knowledge in the areas covered here is mostly limited to the scope of the story. Should you wish to add further information, correct misinformation, or simply say hi, please do so by leaving a comment!
1. (Easy–Intermediate) How many characters do you see in the illustration Dogs in the Sky in the Prologue? The correct answer is twelve – like Youngho’s age and the month, December, when the story takes place.
2. (Intermediate) In Chapter 1, who is not paying attention to the lesson? What are they doing instead? (Hint: you have to read the book and look in the illustrations!)
3. (Intermediate) In Chapter 1, Youngho names Peking Duck tacos as one of his favourite dishes that Manu’s mother made. How is Peking Duck usually served? (Hint: how would a chef serve it?)
4. (Intermediate) In Chapter 2, what are the things that Youngho has never heard of before? Can you explain what they are? (Hint: you have to read the story!)
5. (Advanced) There are two objects, a hammer and a saw, hidden in one of the illustrations. Can you find them? (Hint: it’s in the book!)
6. (Completely geeky) In the illustration Once upon a Time on Christmas Day in Chapter 4, one tiny detail does not correspond to reality. What is it? (Hint: an astronomer may find this easy!)
7. (For the culturally savvy) In the illustration We’re All Time Millionaires Today in Chapter 8, what is the significant number? Why is it used in this context?
8. (Intermediate) In the illustration Where to Celebrate Christmas in Chapter 8, I forgot to add something in the picture. What can it be? (Hint: you have to read the book and look in the illustration!)
9. (An open question) In the illustration Singing Sheep, Fast Cars, and Dancing Ducklings in Chapter 10, who’s the diva? Remember—there are no right or wrong answers!
10. (Intermediate) In the illustration Youngho’s Brain Turns a Cartwheel in Chapter 11, how many visitors does Youngho have? Who are they?
There are two people in the sleigh, Youngho and Grandad; one monster chasing them; and nine dogs including Chadori.
2 + 1 + 9 = 12
And yes, each of the dogs will be a unique character with a name starting with Book II!
The two naughty ones not paying attention to their class are Youngho and Manu.
Chapter 1 begins as Mrs Park catches Youngho dozing in his history class. If you look closely at the books on the desks in the illustration Youngho is in Trouble (p22), you’ll see that Youngho’s and Manu’s books are different from the others’: Youngho’s book has a different pattern on it, and the picture on it is sized, shaped and positioned differently from the other books, while Manu’s looks like a comic book, with a number of squares next to one another. Manu, sitting in the far right corner wearing a green top, looks like he’s enjoying a snack, looking in the other direction from the rest of the class. Manu certainly is fond of eating!
Peking Duck is served with pancakes and an assortment of finely chopped vegetables, according to my limited experience (chiefly in restaurants in Europe). Youngho says that ‘Manu’s mother used to be a chef’, so this is how a chef would serve it.
But Youngho doesn’t know that this is how it’s usually served, and calls it ‘Peking Duck tacos’.
In Chapter 2, we learn of two things that Youngho has never heard of before: boysenberries and champagne.
The boysenberry is a cross between a blackberry and several other varieties of berry. But Youngho never finds out what it is in the book and wonders if it really could be ‘boys in a berry’ or ‘boys and berries’ as the name suggests.
Champagne is, as many of you already know, a type of sparkling wine from the French region of the same name. Youngho has never heard of it before (I hadn’t when I was twelve!) and thinks to himself incredulously: Sham pain, though? Never heard of it. Could ‘pain’ be the name for something that looks so delightful? Seriously?
It’s literally ‘in the book’ inside the illustration The Crown of Upturned Bucket on p58.
If you look closely, the figures and drawings in it are falling off the open pages. You will find a hammer, a saw and a wrench next to the person falling upside down at the bottom.
It’s the waning crescent moon outside the kitchen window.
A waning crescent moon reaches that height only by the early morning in the northern hemisphere, according to this article (Link to be added) by The Guardian. Youngho and Chadori live on the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea, which is in the northern hemisphere. Therefore this detail does not correspond to reality. It is rather geeky, isn’t it? I love these geeky details! 🙂
This illustration depicts how Youngho remembers one Christmas Day when he was seven years old. Both Youngho and his elder sister, Minji, are under ten in that scene, and would have been in bed by the time the crescent moon rose that high up in the sky. It is highly unlikely that anybody, let alone a family with two young children, would be having their Christmas dinner in the small hours. It would no longer be Christmas!
In contrast, the presence of a crescent moon visible through Youngho’s window in the illustration Youngho’s Brain Turns a Cartwheel (p180) is quite likely as this happens in the early morning when Youngho would normally be asleep.
The significant number here is four.
If you look inside the thought bubble, you’ll see that all the coins and notes (‘bills’ for our American friends) have a clock sign on them, and the hands point to four o’clock. There are also four birds: one in the upper left corner and three on the right.
Number four is the number of death in East Asian countries – China, Japan and Korea (in alphabetical order). This is because the word ‘four’ sounds the same as the word ‘death’ in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, respectively.
The fear of number four is called tetraphobia.
The napkins, of course!
At the end of Chapter 8, Minji crumples up a paper napkin and throws it at Dad when he makes fun of her. I completely forgot about the napkins when I was illustrating this one, as I was so focused on ‘setting the table’ correctly – the meat, vegetables, rice, cutlery, glasses … and I spent a fair amount of time correcting the way the characters held their chopsticks. I was having great fun playing house!
Just when I thought everything was looking good, I realised that I’d forgotten the napkins! Correct it again? Nah …, I thought, it’ll make a nice question for the quiz! 🙂
Everybody is a diva here in my opinion, including Youngho.
Although he’s not actually singing, he is imagining all this.
But whether he would like being called a diva or not is another question.
Youngho has two visitors in the room – Grandad and Chadori.
Grandad is clearly visible, standing with his back to the reader. Chadori is almost invisible, but you can still see his duster tail between Grandad and Youngho.