As long as we're on the topic of dystopian(-ish) children's literature (see previous post), I dug out one of my favorite Korean children's books that I've run across (not that there are that many in my repertoire). It's entitled 쓰레기를 먹는 공룡, which roughly translates as The Trash-Eating Dinosaur. I love this book, even though I have not, in fact, successfully read it front-to-back. I like the pictures, I like the aesthetic, I like the theme. And I've worked through some fragments. It's a much higher-level, more difficult kid's book than the others I've blogged about here so far. But anyway. I probably like it partly because it reminds me of the Wump World (see, again, previous post). More retro-futuristic dystopianism, but this time, with a Korean cultural twist.
The basic plot is (or seems to be - remember that my ability to read Korean is pretty lousy) that there is a dinosaur that is discovered that eats trash. He's put to work, but there are unforeseen consequences - environmental, of course, but also with respect to the dinosaur's quality-of-life, if you will. Things are resolved happily, of course, just like the Wump World - it's kid's lit, after all.
Here are some samples of the book. I love the sketch-like illustrations. Here's the dinosaur strolling around a clearly Seoul-like metropolis (note historical city-wall gate on upper right-hand edge of the drawing - it reminds me too of the 팔달문 neighborhood in Suwon where I used to stay).
Here's the dinosaur hard at work. Note the iconic dung-piles in the lower left - these are part of a powerful contemporary visual meme among Korean school children - I see them drawn surreptitiously on desks, blackboards, and books on a daily basis.
I like the politician or public official trying to berate (or interview? - these concepts are interconnected in Korean culture) the dinosaur in this picture.