From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—Based on actual happenings, this gentle picture book promotes peace and illustrates how war impacts individuals in many ways. Framed by the narration of Katie-chan, an American visiting her friend Yuko in Japan, the story is told by Yuko's grandmother to the girls. The woman describes her childhood, recalling the song of an ancient temple bell that was sounded at midnight on New Year's Eve, ringing 108 times to chase away the worries of the world. But, when the war came, it was donated as scrap metal. After the war, the town gradually sprang to life, but Yuko's grandmother felt an empty spot in her heart where the bell's song used to live. Then, one day, the bell came back; it had been found abandoned in a shipyard by American sailors, sent to Minnesota, and finally returned to the town as a symbol of friendship. The simple plot is clearly developed with descriptive language, and an author's note provides more historical details. Done in Japanese acrylic paints, the realistic illustrations accurately portray the setting and capture the characters' various emotions—calmness, anxiety, happiness—as the story unfolds. Cultural details are woven into both text and pictures, and the message of peace between nations is eloquently conveyed.—Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA
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About the Author
MARGI PREUS lives in Duluth,Minnesota, where a replica of the Peace Bell now resides.
HIDEKO TAKAHASHI is the illustrator of many books for children, including Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems and In My New Yellow Shirt. She lives in Seattle, Washington.