Tsunami!

by Kimiko Kajikawa and Ed Young

Ojiisan is watching from his home on the mountain as residents of his village celebrate... read more

Ojiisan is watching from his home on the mountain as residents of his village celebrate the rice harvest when he feels a rumbling beneath his feet: it’s an earthquake. Ojiisan watches 400 villagers far below rush toward the unusual sight of the sea rushing away from the land. They are unaware of what it means: tsunami! Frantic to warn them of the danger, Ojiisan sets his crops on fire, knowing that the villagers will rush up the mountain to help extinguish the blaze. And they do. Their village is devoured by the waves, but 400 lives are saved. Kimiko Kajikawa’s story is based on a real man named Hamaguchi Goryou who saved his village when a tsunami hit Japan in 1896. In a spare, dramatic account, the tension builds slowly and then explodes like the fury of the wave. Ed Young’s remarkable collage art is at once abstract—swaths of red-orange and pink for the flames, chaotic tears of white for the violent sea—and detailed, with facial expressions reflecting the confusion and terror, and authentic period clothing. (Ages 6–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010

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