________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 24. . . .February 26, 2010



Eric Walters.
Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 2009.
197 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-0-385-66443-1.

Subject Heading:
Indian Ocean Tsunami, 2004-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



Our taxi slowed down and came to a stop in front of the resort. “It feels like coming home,” my mother said.

“Home for the holidays,” my father agreed. We climbed out of the car and the driver got out and took the bags from the trunk. Instantly there were three bellhops who grabbed them.“I love the smell of the air here,” my mother said.

“I just like the fact that the air is warm.” I rolled up the sleeves on my shirt. The faster I could get into a T-shirt and shorts the better. Actually, a bathing suit would be even better. “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Brooks!” It was Philippe. He’d worked at the resort for as long as I could remember. “It’s so good to se all of you…but it isn’t all of you. Where is Miss Brooks?” he asked. “Miss Brooks couldn’t come this year,” my mother said. “This is awful!” Philippe exclaimed. “The staff will be so disappointed.” I knew he was, in a way, just being polite. The Thai people had to be the most polite people in the entire world. But he also really meant it. Over the years we’d gotten to know the staff, and they’d gotten to know us. They really worked to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. They didn’t have to work at being friendly, though, because that just came naturally.

When a tsunami hit Phuket, Thailand, on Christmas day, 12-year-old Sam was on the beach. His 19-year-old sister Beth was across the ocean in North America. Obligations are what prevented Beth from joining her family on this annual Christmas vacation, but when she learns about the tsunami and hears nothing from her family, she won’t let anything stop her from joining them. Narrated by Sam and Beth, Wave is the story of their survival and reunion.

     When Beth drives the family to the JFK International Airport in New York, she assures her parents she’ll be fine on her own. She’s always been responsible, and she’ll keep busy with swimming and visiting her friends at university. Beth is worried though about her mom who has multiple sclerosis. It’s in remission now, but that doesn’t mean the symptoms won’t come back. Sam and his father are worried too, but they know what to watch for and how to help out when needed.

     When Sam and his parents arrive at the resort, they are welcomed by friendly staff and beautiful weather. They find their bungalow on the beach, have a meal of pineapple pancakes, and go for a relaxing elephant ride up into the hills. On Christmas day, they open their few presents and make plans to go snorkeling. But before they get their equipment, an unruly elephant working on the beach catches their attention and draws them away from the shoreline. When they see the ocean recede and hear the noise of the first wave, Sam and his parents are terrified, but they are able to scramble to higher ground before everything becomes engulfed by water. They save as many people as they can, but only until a second wave hits. This wave catches them off guard, and it will have deadly consequences.

     Although Beth was looking forward to her independence over Christmas, after she hears about the tsunami, all she wants to do is be with her family. She flies to Thailand and begins a long, agonizing journey to find her parents and brother. While Sam’s narrative at the beginning of the book allows readers to experience the tsunami as it happened, Beth’s narrative allows readers to see the after-effects. From the air, Beth sees a whole village now under water, and on land she sees death and destruction everywhere. Wave is a natural disaster book that doesn’t just focus on the negative though. Eric Walters writes about the miracles too. During natural disasters, people are killed or go missing, and infrastructure can be reduced to nothing, but the kindness of strangers comes out, too, as do reunions that seem against all odds.

     A former teacher, award-winning Eric Walters has written over sixty books for children and young adults.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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