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The Island-below-the-Star Hardcover – March 30, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 30, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395851599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395851593
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,353,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3APart legend, part history, this original tale evokes the early Polynesian explorers' finding and settling of the Hawaiian Islands. Four brothers, each of whom has a special love and skill, set out on an adventure to find the island below a star they see in the northern sky (Arcturus). Traveling in an outrigger canoe and carrying water and dried foods, they sail steadily for several weeks until a violent storm throws them off course. Manu, the youngest, who has stowed away and whose specialty is birds, leads them to the island by following the flight of the gulls. Told with the spare formulaic structure of a folktale, even to having the youngest brother save the day, the tale has the appeal of a youthful adventure while it uses the five brothers to tell the story of the migration of a whole people. As he did in The Cloudmakers (Houghton, 1996), Rumford appends an explanatory historical note. Here, he tells how the early explorers probably used patterns of winds, currents, and bird migration to guide them through the Pacific from 2500 miles to the south. His strong watercolor paintings are alive with the movement and vibrant light of the sea and sky and the vigor of the young men. Text and pictures are equals in this eloquent and appealing look at island history.ASally Margolis, Barton Public Library, VT
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 6^-8. Rumford (The Cloudmakers, 1996) commemorates an epic prehistoric voyage with his tale of five brothers, each with a special affinity--for stars, for waves, for clouds, for wind, and for birds--who set out toward a certain star to find the island beneath it. Manu, the youngest, stows away in the canoe, and it's a good thing, for after a five-day storm that leaves them far off course, his sharp eyes spot a bird that leads them to their destination. Although Rumford tells the tale in a formal tone, he humanizes the brothers--" All right! All right! We were just kidding," says one, after teasingly threatening to throw Manu overboard. Despite the rolling seas and roiling clouds, Rumford's generous applications of browns and reds give most of his watercolor scenes a warm, friendly feel. Unfortunately, Rumford gives no hint of whether this is an original story or based on another. He explains in an afterword that the Hawaiian Islands' first settlers are believed to have come from the Marquesas, 2,500 miles to the south. How did they, and other Polynesian travelers, navigate? By stars, waves, clouds, wind, and birds, of course. John Peters

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
"In the days when the stars were a map of the earth below, there lived on a tiny island in the South Pacific five brothers who loved adventure," opens this enchanting historical fiction story about early Polynesian explorers discovering the Hawaiian Islands. The brothers, each with a special skill, navigate their way across the vast ocean by stars, waves, clouds, wind and birds. Over 1,500 years ago, the brothers set out to find an island beneath a far away star. The youngest, Manu, stows away in their canoe, which turns out to be a blessing. After a storm leaves them lost, Manu spots a bird that helps lead them to their island. This story celebrates the exploration of the Pacific by Oceanic peoples as an expression of their culture. It soars with the humanity of their endeavor. Even through the storm, the blue and brown water color illustrations add a soft, soothing touch.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This delightful tale of the possible exploration and discovery of the islands in the Pacific creates a sense of adventure to hold the attention of the young readers. I found the relationship of the brothers a good example of how every member of a family has a part and how often the youngest has difficulty "prooving" him or her self. All children dream of showing their best and getting the respect of siblings, parents, and peers--this story kindly embodies those inner feelings. The lively watercolors add to the excitement and mystery of the tale. An added treat was the tale's translation into the Hawaiian language enclosed in my copy of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By EDorrans on October 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a peaceful and beautiful story about a journey of 5 brothers who "discover" Hawaii. My daughter brought it to school and the teacher enjoyed the story too.
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By Nani D. Mathews on September 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another item bought as a gift, unfortunately doesn't have Hawaiian translation in the back as the other James Rumford book. Beautiful story and pictures.
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