A poetically written and illustrated recreation of the voyage of Kenichi Horie, the first (recorded) sailor to cross the Pacific solo.
“Kenichi the brave, Kenichi the adventurer, but first, Kenichi the little boy sat perched like a bird along Osaka harbor.” In strongly cadenced prose, Emery places the young mariner aboard a custom-built sailboat and sends him out for intense mid-ocean encounters with a typhoon, whales, sharks, jellyfish and a towering passenger ship before journey’s end beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. In Rivera’s artwork, Kenichi and his small boat float between tumultuous waves and skies, amid teeming masses of sea life—all depicted in long, flowing strokes of oil pastels. What prompted the dangerous voyage? The author offers only an oblique, evocative refrain in explanation: “The wind blows forever / across an ocean that never ends.” Lacking a closing note about that 1962 passage (or Horie’s several later ones) that would provide a historical anchor, this tribute seems intended to inspire rather than inform.
It leaves readers the freedom not only to appreciate the scope of his achievement, but to ponder the courage required to undertake all such private journeys. (Picture book. 8-10)