Picture Book Review: Kenta and the Big Wave


Kenta and the Big Wave by Ruth Ohi

Age Range: 4 – 7 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: Annick Press (July 11, 2013)

Series: None

Genre: Picture book

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!)

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

A tsunami has swept everything away — including Kenta’s soccer ball.

When tragedy strikes Kenta’s small village in Japan, he does all he
can to hang on to the things that matter to him most. But amidst the
chaos of an emergency evacuation brought on by the tsunami, Kenta and
his family must quickly leave their home. Climbing to safer ground,
Kenta watches helplessly as his prized soccer ball goes bouncing down a
hill and gets swept away by the waves, never to be seen again… that is
until it washes up on a beach on the other side of the world, into the
hands of a child who takes it upon himself to return the ball to its
rightful owner.

In this evocative picture book, Ruth Ohi’s
glowing art transports the reader to Japan with gentle images that offer
reassurance amidst the background of an environmental catastrophe.
Inspired by true stories of personal items being washed ashore
thousands of miles away after the tsunami of 2011,  
Kenta and The Big Wave is about the strength of the human spirit and the power of Mother Nature. An afterword explains tsunamis to young readers.

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

About the Author/Illustrator:

Ruth is the illustrator of over
50 books, including 15 of which she also wrote. She is a graduate of
the Ontario College of Art and Design.

Her books have been
selected for the Pennsylvania Centre for the Book’s “Baker’s Dozen”, the
Canadian Toy Testing Council’s “Great Books”, the Ontario Library
Association’s “Best Bets”, and the Toronto Public Library’s “First &
Best”. They have been shortlisted for awards such as the Marilyn
Baillie Picture Book, Amelia Francis Howard-Gibbons , Mr. Christie, and
Blue Spruce.

Plenty of pdf printables can found on her website.
Printables include puppets, games and creative handouts for her latest

A favourite part of her job is hosting workshops where
young people get as excited about creating their own visual stories as
she does.


My Thoughts:

This is an interesting look at natural disasters and the way it affects
people. The story talks about Kenta and his family after a tsunami hits
their little village. They must eat and sleep in the school gym while
they work to rebuild their home.

The illustrations also add to the mood and feel of the book. The journey
that Kenta’s soccer ball goes on is quite amazing. It gets swept up by
the ocean and makes it all the way to another shore where a little boy
finds it and mails it back to Kenta. I love this idea, that something
like a soccer ball could gets lost, supposedly forever, only to be found
and returned to its owner.

Disclaimer: I received access to digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Adriana Garcia
    September 22, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Aw! This book is going to make me cry I know it or at least get teary eyed because of the soccer ball being returned to Kenta after all he has ever known is destroyed. Great book for kids to learn more about the world and how unkind and kind it can be (: Thanks for the review!

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