Publishers Weekly Review
Based on the true story of a tsunami that struck Hawaii?s Big Island in 1946, this addition to the Tales of Young Americans line opens years later, as narrator Kimo notes that when he was little, he and his grandfather "were the best of friends." Each spring, they drove to a peninsula where Grandfather draped a lei on a monument and they watched the surf roll in. The man promised to share the story of "this sacred place" when Kimo is older, adding, "For now, know that the ocean is both friend and foe. It gives, but it also takes." After Grandfather dies suddenly, Kimo?s father reveals the reason for the annual visit to the monument. When Kimo?s grandfather was young, he attended a school located on the peninsula. One morning, a tsunami swept away the school and 24 students and teachers, including Grandfather?s younger brother. After retelling this story to his son, Kimo?s father takes him to the Pacific Tsunami Museum, where a quilt honoring the 1946 victims hangs. The story strains credibility, as kids may wonder how a nine-year-old could not know about this cataclysmic event in local history or be familiar with the museum. Yet Fredericks ably captures the significance and sadness of the disaster that claimed so many young lives. Emotion also fills Yee?s paintings, which are rendered in soft, full-bleed watercolors. Ages 6-12. (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal Review
Gr 1-4-Kimo relates how each spring, his grandfather took him to Laupahoehoe Point, a peninsula on Hawaii. There they sat quietly, with the old man promising to someday tell him the "story of this sacred place," uttering phrases such as "know that the ocean is both friend and foe." Only after Grandfather's death, when Kimo is nine, does his father tell him about the tsunami of 1946 that had carried away 24 of Grandfather's teachers and classmates as well as his younger brother. Kimo and his father visit the monument at the beach and the memorial quilt in the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo. Despite the inherent drama of the 1946 tragedy, the book lacks immediacy. The illustrations do little to enliven the formal, plodding text. People appear posed and static, even in scenes of imminent danger. An author's note provides information about tsunamis in general and the 1946 occurrence in particular. Interest in this book likely will be limited to those who have visited the museum or monument on Hawaii.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
"Part of the Tales of Young Americans series, this picture book set in Hawaii begins with a little boy and his best friend, his grandfather. Each spring, they go to Laupahoehoe Point, where Grandfather places a lei on a monument. After the man's death, the boy learns that as a child, Grandfather had watched a tsunami sweep away his school buildings and 24 teachers and students, including his younger brother. Although the events of the tragedy are depicted in the book, the horror is lessened by using a framework story that sets the disaster in the past and by showing children running from the tsunami but not engulfed by it. A historical note is appended. Many readers will respond to this book's soft watercolors, understated tone, and moving story. Still, parents would be well advised to read it to themselves before sharing it with young children. A related title for somewhat older readers is Gail Langer Karwoski's Tsunami: The True Story of an April Fools' Day Disaster (2006)."--"Phelan, Carolyn" Copyright 2007 Booklist