________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 7. . . .October 18, 2013


Kenta and the Big Wave.

Ruth Ohi.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2013.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55451-576-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-577-6 (hc.).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Karyn Miehl.

**** /4


Kenta and the Big Wave, by Toronto author and illustrator Ruth Ohi, was inspired by the 2011 tsunami in Japan. This story focuses on Kenta, a young boy who loses much in this natural disaster.

internal art     The book opens:

When Kenta heard the warning siren, he ran to school. He ran to school like they had practiced before --- far up the hill, where the waves couldn't reach. Then Kenta tripped, and his soccer ball did what balls do best --- it bounced and bumped and rolled away. The school gym was full of people looking for what they'd lost. Kenta found his mother and father. The ocean found Kenta's soccer ball.

      The story reveals the loss and destruction caused by the tsunami, and how those affected by it worked to find lost treasures and to rebuild. The path of Kenta's soccer ball is also traced until it ends up on a beach very far from home. The boy who finds Kenta's ball chooses to send it back to Kenta who is grateful to receive it.

      Kenta and the Big Wave uses easy-to-read and understand language, with images that complement and visually expand upon the text. The pictures are colourful and seem to accurately present the reality of the tsunami's destruction. They also clearly differentiate between settings (Japan and where the soccer ball ends up on the other side of the world). The determination of the people in Kenta's village to hold on to hope is a good message for young readers as are the boy's selflessness in returning Kenta's ball and Kenta's gratitude at being reunited with his soccer ball.

     My three and five-year-olds enjoyed this book, wanting it read more than once in a single sitting. They enjoyed the illustrations and asked questions about the pictures. This story also provided a springboard to talk to my five-year-old about what he would do if he found something that did not belong to him and to explain the good deed done by the boy in the story.

     We all enjoyed this book and found it educational as well.

Highly Recommended.

Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.

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

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.