Reviewed by Grandma Bev for TeensReadToo.com
Jade Blossom lives in a family compound in seventeenth century Korea. Her father is an adviser to the king. Jade and her cousin, Willow, live in the female section of the compound, separately from the men and boys, but the girls take every opportunity to play tricks on Jade's brother. She and Willow are like sisters, and then Willow is married and moves to her own compound, where Jade will probably not be able to see her again.
Jade's brother helps her to obtain paper and charcoal to try her hand at drawing. She longs to see the outside world, but the walls are too high to see over, and she is not allowed to roam outside the area. She really wants to see the mountains, so that she can draw them.
One day, she hides in an empty outgoing market basket, and hops out in the marketplace, undetected. She sees many things, including girls her own age, and begins to realize that not everyone lives in a secluded compound.
Then she sees a group of prisoners being herded toward the palace. They are very different looking with something that looks like yellow and brown sheep's wool on their chins and cheeks. She learns that they were shipwrecked, and will now be put on trial and likely executed, since foreigners are not allowed to enter the country. Jade pleads with her father to intervene on behalf of the prisoners in this exciting historical adventure.
Park manages to convey the times and the setting with a feeling of reality. Black-and-white illustrations give visual insight as the story progresses and as Jade grows psychologically, while leaving you aware of the fact that her forward-thinking will never bring her much closer to her goals. SEESAW GIRL helps to show the dilemmas that many women still live with in other cultures of the world.