Margo Tanenbaum's Reviews > Tsunami!

Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa
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May 20, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: picture-books

Caldecott winner Ed Young and writer Kajikawa team up to create a stunning picture book about one man’s simple sacrifice in the face of a natural disaster. Somehow Ojiisan, the wisest, oldest, and wealthiest man in the village, feels that something isn’t right the day the autumn day the villagers are to celebrate the rice harvest. When an earthquake strikes, the villagers are not frightened, but soon “the sea was running away from the land.” Ojiisan knew that it was a tsunami, and that he must get the villagers out of danger. When the villagers run to the beach to watch the ocean, Ojiisan nobly sets fire to his own rice fields, knowing that the fire would bring the villagers away from the ocean, far from the coming monster wave which soon devours the village. But due to Ojiisan’s sacrifice, the villagers’ lives are spared.

This is a dark and powerful book that might frighten young children, but would be suitable for school or public libraries or families who enjoy folk tales. Ed Young’s collage illustrations are very striking, but may appeal more to adults than many children.
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