Author: Preus, Margi
In Japan in 1853, at the time of U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry's visit to Japan, Yoshi, a young Japanese boy who dreams of becoming a samurai one day, learns about America from Manjiro and has adventures with Jack, a young cabin boy aboard one of the U.S. ships.
|Accelerated Reader Information:
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 176194
|Reading Counts Information:
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 66871
Kirkus Reviews (+) (06/01/15)
School Library Journal (08/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/11/15)
The Hornbook (00/11/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 06/01/2015 In 1853, Commodore Perry arrived in Edo Harbor, breaking Japan’s 250 years of isolation. Against the backdrop of a country poised uneasily on the brink of change, Preus tells the story of the unlikely friendship between Japanese Yoshi and American Jack. While Yoshi is being pursued by vengeful Kitsune, a samurai he unwisely crossed, he runs into Jack, who has dangerously wandered away from the U.S. delegation. Yoshi knows protecting the “barbarian” will get him in trouble, but he’s indebted to the boy after Jack helps him escape Kitsune. With the help of adult Manjiro, whom Preus wrote about in Heart of a Samurai (2010), Yoshi helps Jack return to his ship. In an urgent present-tense narrative, Yoshi tries to balance his own beliefs about the unpopular Manjiro and Jack against his own practical need to protect himself. Drawings and traditional Japanese prints interspersed among the chapters add visual interest, and an informative note sifting fact from fiction closes out the volume. Middle-grade readers eager for adventure with a solid grounding in history will be enchanted. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2015 Gr 5–8—In 1853, Commodore William Perry led a fleet of imposing black ships into Edo Bay and began negotiations that would end Japan's 200-year policy of isolationism. This companion novel to Preus's Newbery Honor-winning Heart of a Samurai (Abrams, 2010) explores the political upheaval during this time through the eyes of two boys, one Japanese and one American. Inquisitive boys with big dreams, Yoshi is a lowly servant to a samurai and Jack is a cabin boy on one of Perry's black ships. Through dual narration and clear, unhindered prose, the boys' perspectives mirror both sides of the tense relations between the two cultures. In a series of coincidences, Yoshi becomes the assistant to Manjiro Nakahama, the protagonist of the previous volume. Readers will be pleased to reacquaint themselves with Manjiro as he takes Yoshi under his wing and plays an instrumental role in negotiations between Japan and America. Though some may find the plot a bit heavy on politics and diplomacy, the story shines when Jack is separated from his party and Yoshi is obliged to shelter him, and the two boys forge an unlikely friendship that transcends cultural and language barriers. A comprehensive author's note fills in the historical context that shapes the narrative and Japanese woodblock print illustrations from the era add atmosphere to the text. VERDICT Bringing life to historical events not often addressed in children's literature, this rich, multilayered novel will be a treat for fans of Heart of a Samurai.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.