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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tsunami (Picture Book)



Released February 2009

www.penguin.com/youngreaders

Reviewed by Deb Fowler

Ojiisan was a simple man living in Japan long, long ago. His name meant “grandfather.” One day when his family was preparing to go to a festival, he refused to go. He sensed something was very wrong so he and his grandson, Tada stayed behind. As he watched the festival below, he felt the earth rumble beneath the soles of his feet. An earthquake was stirring the earth beneath his feet. No one was alarmed, but somehow “Ojiisan, who had felt hundreds of earthquakes in his time, thought this shock strange.”

The sea “darkened suddenly and was moving against the wind.” It was a “Tsunami–the monster wave.” Ojiisan knew that something had to be done to rescue the villagers down below. They were running to the sea to watch instead of running away from it to save themselves. He ran to his own precious rice fields and sadly set them on fire. Would the four hundred souls down below rush to his aid? If they rushed to save his fields, perhaps they would unknowingly save their own lives!

This is a beautifully told Japanese legend that will mesmerize the adult reader and widen the eyes of the young. I enjoyed the tale and the combination of gouache, pastel painting and collage artwork was unusual and stunning. This is a charming story that illustrates the fact that we, as human beings, are all in the same boat and need to help one another.

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