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Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: A - Clean Ex-Library copy (labels, etc.) Good condition except for tape-repaired rips in the plastic covering the dust cover. Spine is strong. Inside is clean, crisp, bright - no marks found. Light shelf / usage wear.
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Tsunami! Hardcover – February 5, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. An earthquake, a fire, a tidal wave and selfless heroism, all packed into 32 pages, guarantee that this story will hold the attention of even the most restless listeners. Four hundred villagers are saved from death when Ojiisan, a wealthy old rice farmer on the mountainside, feels tremors, sees the ocean recede and realizes a tsunami is coming. Caldecott Medalist Young's (Lon Po Po) collages—elaborate combinations of media ranging from cut and torn paper to photos of straw and bamboo—build steady tension as Ojiisan, disregarding his grandson's horror, sets his ripened rice fields alight in order to lure the villagers to higher ground. The double-page spread in which the monstrous, cresting black wave looms conveys real terror. Kajikawa's (Yoshi's Feast) portrait of an old man who acts unhesitatingly against his own interests delivers a forceful message, and the moral does not get in the way of the action. Ages 3–5. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 3—Wealthy Ojiisan suffers a feeling of foreboding as he watches colorful rice festival celebrations from his cottage high above his village by the sea. In his mountaintop home, he feels a spongy earthquake and observes bizarre movements in the sea: tsunami! How can Ojiisan alert the townspeople? Young uses a panoply of papers to create collages that tell the story of a sacrifice that saved hundreds of lives. Patterned and marbled papers, fibrous grass cloth, translucent rice paper and tissue, photographic magazine papers, and even corrugated cardboard are keenly cut, roughly torn, layered, wrinkled, mounted, and manipulated to produce images that range from dead calm to the sea-spittled tumult of a roiling vortex that promises to consume everything in its path. The art reflects the frenzy of the events and is a departure from the more serene, controlled, and balanced work we know of Young. Kajikawa has based the character of Ojiisan on Japanese hero Hamaguchi Gohei, who in 1854 set his own rice-stack harvest ablaze, diverting the attention of revelers and drawing them away from impending disaster. A simple story of the power of a simple act.—Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Library, Old Greenwich, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: ALA Best Books for Young Adults 2010
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books; 1 edition (February 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399250069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399250064
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.4 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kimiko's true love of reading and writing began one day at her local library. Kimiko says, "My local librarian asked me if I had ever read Harriet the Spy. She said that it was a great book, and I immediately took it home. I read the entire book that day! I was so disappointed when it ended that I reread it immediately. I had to find a way to keep the spirit of Harriet the Spy alive with me, so I began to keep a journal. And spy on people. I did not follow anyone, but I would try to pick up what people were saying, and I would study their mannerisms. I think Harriet the Spy was the book that got me to write because I really started to look at the world and put down what I saw on paper."

By fifth grade, Kimiko won an essay contest sponsored by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Her essay was about Abraham Lincoln and her victory earned her $3. At that moment, Kimiko concluded that, "Writing was a great way to make a living."

Kimiko won another writing contest when she was twelve, and this time she got to spend a day at the Bucks County Courier Times writing her own column. "I loved it. They took me around and introduced me to all the people that put the newspaper together. I felt like somebody special until they ran my photo in the paper. I was horrified that everyone at school would see it. I looked so nerdy!"

In high school, Kimiko was published in Seventeen Magazine. She was also the assistant editor and columnist for her high school newspaper. "At that point," Kimiko says, "I told my parents that I wanted to become a writer. My parents were unhappy with my decision. They told me that I should become a businesswoman instead."

Kimiko's mom is Japanese and her dad is American. Her parents met after World War II. They didn't even speak the same language when they were married.

Her mom was born in Tokyo in 1929. In an essay that Kimiko wrote when she was in eighth grade, she wrote, "There are no pictures of my mother when she was a child because they were all burned during the war. My mother was eleven years old when World War II started. She sometimes only had toothpaste to eat." During the war, Kimiko's mother lost nine relatives in one day during the bombing of Hiroshima. Soon after the war, Kimiko's grandmother died of cancer. The very next day, her aunt fell from a train and died from head injuries. Kimiko says, "My mom's life is filled with tragic stories that she rarely tells."

"In fact, my family has been the inspiration for most of my books. I credit my son, Chris, for starting my career as an author. When he was little, he fell in love with trains. What Chris wanted most in the world was a book with photographs of steam trains for young children. Fortunately, for me, that book didn't exist. After two years of searching, I decided to write and photograph the book that Chris so desperately wanted to read."

According to Kimiko, "Working on my books has helped me make sense of my life and helped me deal with the pain of growing up Eurasian. There were children in my neighborhood who wouldn't play with me when I was a kid. Some of them threw rocks at me and called me, "slanty eyes." Having grown up wishing I looked like most everyone else, I understand how important it is to give children an awareness and appreciation of our external differences and a realization that, underneath it all, we are very much the same. I feel that through teaching children to respect others we give them something even more important: self-respect."

"For several years, I have truly enjoyed reading old Japanese folklore and adapting those stories for an American audience. This is very therapeutic work for me. When I was little, I would go to sleep and wish that I would wake up looking like all the other kids. Now, I take pride in my heritage. Writing books has helped me grow as a person. It's very empowering. After all these years of feeling oppressed and ashamed of my background, I now feel that I can make a positive difference. "

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By libraries rock! on February 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Noted children's author, Kajikawa, has created a small masterpiece in this awe-inspiring tale of an old man who saves his village from an impending tsunami by sacrificing the rice crop that made him wealthy. The illustrations by Ed Young are breathtaking, and the spare prose is both page-turning and yet tuned perfectly to a child's ear. A stunning book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lucius M. McKelvy on December 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't getting a lot from the pictures, but the text kept me engaged throughout. One thing that the pictures did do was capture the scale of a tsunami. There's a simplicity to the book that I appreciated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. S. VINE VOICE on August 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Those first moments of approaching the ocean after not having been swimming in it for a couple of years had me feeling a momentary tinge of shyness toward it. There is that sense of enormity and foreverness and hidden secrets. But then it reached out and splashed my ankles and knees and -- proceeding forward -- I was suddenly and thoroughly immersed in it, swimming beyond the breakers, and it was my old friend, holding me aloft with its buoyant, salty density. All of those feelings and memories embedded so deeply in me came pouring out: of being a little kid all scratchy with sand in the backseat of an ancient station wagon heading home with New York Top Forty on the radio, still feeling, for hours to come and into that night's sleep, the never-ending sway and tug of the sea bouncing me around and around despite its having -- for the moment -- receded out of sight and scent to be replaced by the moist and verdant midsummer's evening of fireflies and hide-and-seek and a warm shower and soft pajamas.

A week ago I was one with the ocean, thousands of miles from where I sit this morning. I left my beloved soulmate back there, and wish in all of my being that I was there right now.

I consider it one of the most fortunate circumstances of birth that I was born near the sea and, throughout childhood, accumulated so many layers of sweet memories of being in it, memories that cause me to find myself back at the shores of eastern Long Island again and again just as surely as if I were a bird born with that instinctual knowledge of where one is forever compelled to return to.
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Format: Hardcover
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sally Stang on February 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a tale with a lot of drama. The story is gripping from the beginning to the end...not something for "wee ones", but for older kids, I think this will hold their attention and help them understand about being a good neighbor and rising to the occasion in an emergency. I could see a teacher reading this to a classroom and having a discussion about making a sacrifice to your community.

Kajikawa tells the tale in a simple way - hard to do with a rather complex theme - yet still manages to imbue the story with layers of emotion and passion. It reminded me of a book I had when I was a child with Asian folktales with "adult themes". (I recall a tale where a dragon tries to get a monkey's heart for his dragon wife, trying to kill the monkey to get the heart -heavy stuff for a child to read, but it had a point to make and I remembered it). These folktales made a strong impression on me in a way that the more light-hearted storybooks did.

The illustrations by Ed Young are intense. I was very impressed with how he used his materials to create "fire" and "water"...Just paper collage! Remarkable.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The purpose of a picture book? Think carefully now. The answer's not going to jump up and bite you on the bum. Does it exist primarily to instill a love of literature? A love of art? To teach children to read? Is it an artistic form in and of itself, separate entirely from its practical purposes? Is it made to please adults with children as a secondhand afterthought, or does it please all persons regardless of age? Such questions do not always come up after reading one of these 32-odd page creations. To be perfectly honest, I am rarely challenged when a read a Seuss, a Willems, or a Scarry (sorry, y'all). And then I'll pick up something that doesn't follow conventional rules or patterns. Maurice Sendak will have such an effect on my brain. So too, but for entirely different reasons, will Ed Young. No one questions his talent, but not everyone likes his style, in spite of the fact that that very style changes from book to book. He might be downright conventional in My Mei Mei then break out the crazy juice for Wabi Sabi. His tales can be as straightforward as Caldecott winner Lon Po Po or as downright brain twistingly loopy as Beyond the Great Mountains. With Young you never know what you're going to get next. And next, in this particular case, is Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa. A straightforward story with pictures that are anything but.Read more ›
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