Friday, March 18, 2011

The Big Wave

I read this book a while ago, but it has stayed with me, and it is currently at the top of my mind. A children's book by the Pulitzer prize winner for her book 'The Good Earth', Pearl S. Buck, also a Nobel prize winner, literature, in 1938. She was the daughter of missionary parents, and was born in China, spending most of her childhood and youth in China and Japan.

Pic courtesy flipkart
Written by Pearl S. Buck
Published by HarperCollins
Ages 9-12 yrs

Jiya and Kino were friends who lived in Japan. Kino was a farmer's son, and lived on a farm high up the slope of a mountain. A mountain, moreover, that was a volcano a very long, long time ago. His father always told him that they would be in danger if the volcano ever erupted again.

From his home, he could look down upon the big, blue ocean, near which was a fishing village where his friend Jiya, the son of a fisherman lived. Jiya had a house very near the sea, but had no window looking out to the sea. Kino could not understand this, as the ocean seemed very beautiful to him. Also, the fishermen are dependent on the sea for their very livelihood. Jiya however, does not agree with him, and tells him that his father says that the ocean is a grave danger.

Neither boy can quite understand the other's outlook. Until one day, an undersea volcano erupts and triggers off a massive tsunami- the big wave.

What happens next? How do both Jiya and Kino deal with their loss?

A wonderfully written book for young readers, which answers many questions that might occur to them about the tsunami and disasters in general. Pearl S. Buck's distinctive style is apparent even in this children's book, and we get a wonderful sense of atmosphere, learning a lot about the people that she knows so much about. In the boys' coming to terms with and dealing with the calamity, we learn a lot about this terrible force of nature that can annihilate in seconds.

Winner of the 'Child Study Association's Children's Book Award'.

Crossposted here.


Anonymous said...

thanks, sandhya. children also have the right to want to know "what is going around in our world" as they hear adults express their anguish over natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes. and it is our duty, as parents, to share with them in a way they can understand. "my friend the sea" by tulika was brought out after the tsunami hit the coast of tamil nadu (as a sequel to "suresh and the sea") and it was a beautiful narration, in my opinion. of course, the emotional ability of every child is different. and we have to keep in mind their sensitivities.

Choxbox said...

Was going to mention My friend The Sea as well!

And where o where did you find this one? Sounds like a gem!

sathish said...

Sandhya, I have seen this book a few times in second hand book stores - a mistake not to pick it up.

Nice review.

sandhya said...

@Anonymous: Yes, you're right. We, as parents so often brush aside our children's concerns as "You needn't worry about that". But they do worry- they think much more about so many things that we do not dream of. Even my daughter A has surprised me so much at times with her thoughts!
Yes, I thought of the two Tulika books too when I wrote this review.

@Choxbox:I had read this book at the British library, but it was a while back, and A was too young for it then. Now we are no longer members, and I am looking for it in second-hand shops, as it is too expensive at flipkart, and I've not seen it at stores. I kept thinking of it since the disaster in Japan, especially as I was thinking of books by Pearl S. Buck that I mentioned in my post about Japan on my blog.

@Satish: Do pick it up. AND pick up a copy for me if you can. The illustrations are woodcut prints, and I loved them!

Melissa Taylor said...

wow, I didn't know about this book - I'm going to buy it immediately! Thanks.

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