Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa, illustrated by Ed Young.

Ojiisan is the wealthiest person in his small village.  His wisdom has people walking the crooked track up the mountain to ask for his advice.  Ojiisan decides not to go to the rice harvest celebration in the village because something does not feel right to him.  So he watches the celebration from high above on the mountain.  When the first earthquake comes it doesn’t stop the celebration below.  Then Ojiisan sees the sea moving away from the shore, he realizes what is happening – tsunami!  But how can he warn the villagers celebrating below him?

This simple, strong story about one man’s sacrifice to save others in danger is breathtaking.  Young’s paper illustrations are gripping and fully capture the incredible strength of the disaster and the wonder of survival.  Kajikawa’s text is short, simple and even more effective for those reasons.  There is enough drama to carry the story forward without flowery language.

Highly recommended and timely, this book will not sit still on the shelf.  The cover alone will sell it and just wait until people take a peek inside!  Wonderful storytelling combined with great illustrations.  Appropriate for ages 4-8.

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