While We Were Out
By Lee Ho-baek
(Kane/Miller Book Pub)
A cute little rabbit sneaks into an empty house through an unlocked balcony door, while the family is away visiting grandma. The bunny is thrilled to explore the place and the new things she’s never done before.
For any kid who has wondered what their pets would do if left alone in the house, illustrator Lee Ho-baek’s adorable picture book, “One Night Out” is a fun and sweet read.
The book, which was selected as one of the Best Illustrated Children’s Books by the New York Times in 2003, is filled with Lee’s simple and soft colored illustrations of its playful and adorable protagonist, the little white bunny.
She enjoys food from the family’s fridge, watches a movie on a comfy couch, and tries to read the books that belong to the father of the family, without much success. The bunny also puts on makeup using the mother’s lipstick, tries the youngest child’s hanbok, the Korean traditional costume which the child wore on her first birthday.
The highlight of the bunny’s exciting adventure comes when she discovers a pair of roller skates. The fluffy bunny tucks herself into one of the skates and races through the house, using a pair of chopsticks to propel herself forward.
The bunny acts very much like a real-life curious child, imitating grown-ups and making a mess of the house when parents are not around. By the time the family returns, the bunny leaves the house thinking there is absolutely no sign of her visit. Yet the twist in the story is sure to make most of young readers giggle when it shows the cute bunny’s got it all wrong.
Originally written and published in Korean in 2000, its English edition was published in the U.S. through Kane/Miller Book Pub in 2003. Written in simple sentences along with large, warm illustrations, young readers can easily follow the bunny’s journey and empathize with her excitement and joy.
Born in 1962 in Seoul, illustrator Lee Ho-baek studied at Seoul National University’s applied arts program. He also studied at Korea University’s journalism and mass communication graduate school, as well as Pantheon-Assas Paris II University in Paris, France. He founded a children’s book publishing house, “Jaimimage,” in Seoul in 1994, and has been working on books for young readers ever since.