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Shin's Tricycle Hardcover – August 1, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kodama, a native of Hiroshima who survived the 1945 atomic attack, relates a disturbing but undeniably powerful true account of one family's experience during that devastating explosion. The narrator is a father of three; as the bomb drops on the city, his three-year-old son, Shin, is riding his cherished tricycle. Barely alive and pinned under a house beam, Shin is still gripping his red handlebars. Unable to save their two daughters from the fires that erupt, the parents rush Shin to the river, but he dies that night. His parents bury the tricycle alongside him. Forty years later, while digging up their children's graves from the lawn to place their remains in a cemetery, they find the tricycle. It is put (and remains today) on display in Hiroshima's Peace Museum. The author doesn't cushion the horror in his tale, and certain passages-of burn victims screaming for water yet dying when they drank it; of Shin's father finding the "little bones" of his deceased daughters-are harsh fare for young readers. Similarly, several of Ando's illustrations-of Shin's father straining to lift the beam that trapped his child; the glaring, yellow flash of the explosion-are at least as frightening as they are effective. Despite the volume's picture-book format, age guidelines should be observed here. Ages 7-10.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3?In Hiroshima, in the summer of 1945, three-year-old Shin got the tricycle he wanted so badly. Then the atomic bomb was dropped. Still clutching a bit of the handlebars, the child was pulled from the rubble by his parents and died the next day. Years later, they decided to exhume his bones for proper burial and discovered the tricycle, which was placed in the Peace Museum. This simple tale, based on a true story, suffers from the fact that Shin's playmate and two sisters are given only peremptory characterization. Also, the writing style is rather monotonous. The oil paintings are mostly somber and moody, but effective. Shin himself, except when near death, is depicted more as a cartoon character than a real person. Collections that include Eleanor Coerr's Sadako (Putnam, 1993) or Toshi Maruki's Hiroshima No Pika (Lothrop, 1982) can pass on this offering.?John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802783759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802783752
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,323,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've used this book as part of a text set in studying WWII and the Japanese experience. I was working with 5th Graders. I brought together almost every book that I could find that was relevant and laid them out on a table. After giving a brief book talk on each book, I allowed my students to read for two weeks straight. The students chose what they wanted to read and followed their own interests. After the first week, I invited students to share information regarding some of the books that they had read. This provided more information for students in selecting next books to read. After the two weeks of reading, we had a book discussion that lasted almost a week and a half. The students frequently explored a wide variety of issues and picked up books that they had read to illustrate what they were talking about. At the end of the study session they said that picture books helped them quickly get multiple perspectives on the issue that interested them. Since they could read a picture book in approx 20 minutes, this meant that they could read a lot of books on one aspect of interest and then make more informed decisions regarding the chapter books that were on the table. They also said that after this learning experience they had a different view of the value of picture books. Previously they had been dismissive of these books, seeing them as "for younger readers." Afterwards, they saw that these books were informative in different ways that they valued highly.
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Format: Hardcover
Tens of thousands of people died when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. But we have long known that the story of a single person often has more impact than that of a large number, a truth certainly reaffirmed in the wake of September 11th. In "Shin's Tricycle" writer Tatsuharu Kodama (who lived through the atomic explosion himself) tells the true story of Nobuo Tetsutani and his son, Shin, who died before his fourth birthday a few days after the atomic blast. However, it is battered tricycle, now displayed at the Peace Museum in Hiroshima, that comes to symbolize what happened that day for the the readers.
Illustrated by Noriyuki Ando, "Shin's Tricycle" tells a simple story of a little boy who wants a red tricycle for his birthday. However, because of a war he can understand little about, there are no longer any tricycles in Japan: the metal is used to build tanks and cannons, not toys. But in a small miracle Shin gets the tricycle of his dreams and is riding it with his friend Kimi when the unthinkable happens.
"Shin's Tricycle" will probably impact young readers much more than what they would ever read in a history textbook. I lived in Japan for several years when my father was stationed there, and I regret that I never made it to Hiroshima. On the last page there is a photograph of Shin and his tricycle. Since this is a book about making a tremendously large event seem real because of details, the fact that one of the handlebars is missing in this photograph will certainly get you choked up.
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By A Customer on March 5, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I begin the US History unit about Pearl Harbor with this book. They may be mostly juniors in high school and this is an elementary book, but it really gets to them! The book gives them a different perspective and really touches them so they are ready to discuss and learn.
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By A Customer on June 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This Children's book depicts the horrors that the Japanese peopel suffered when the atomic bombs were dropped. This book is beautifully illustrated and in an excellent contribution to the genre of Historical Fiction.
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