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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Great Wave (The)
by Véronique Massenot
Age Range: 6-8
A group of fishermen go out one day to catch fish. As they set out in their boats the sea becomes very rough and soon they are confronted by an enormous wave that rises up ready to engulf them. Fortunately they survive and as the wave recedes one of the fishermen called Taro discovers that there is a newborn baby in his boat. He and his wife, Aki are childless but have always longed for a child. Taro believes this is a miracle and takes the child home to his wife.
Taro and Aki love and care for their new son Naoki but as the years pass he has hardly grown at all. Naoki begins to wonder about his existence and where he came from. He becomes more and more restless and is constantly drawn to the sea. Finally, it is the mysterious silver fish that is able to give him the answer.
This beautiful tale by Véronique Massenot and illustrated by Bruno Pilorget is inspired by the famous Japanese painter and print maker Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), whose painting ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ is one of a series of coloured woodcuts that he made in 1830. The text evokes a typical Japanese tale and the illustrator has captured the magic of Hakusai’s delicate, intricate woodcuts perfectly.
This is an ideal art book for children to learn about Hakusai and his style of painting and print making as well as some Japanese traditions. There is some useful information at the back of the book on Hakusai, woodcuts, and the traditional Japanese festival of Köi Nobori. Part of the ‘Pictures That Tell Stories: Art for Children’ series by Prestel, this is a welcome addition to books that introduce children to art.