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.
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