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Reviewed by:
  • Fish for Jimmy by Katie Yamasaki
  • Elizabeth Bush
Yamasaki, Katie. Fish for Jimmy. Holiday House, 2013. [32p]. ISBN 978-0-8234-2375-0 $16.95 Reviewed from galleys Ad 5-8 yrs.

Young Japanese-American brothers Taro and Jimmy can't really understand what all the fuss is about when Pearl Harbor is bombed. Hawaii is awfully far away from their parents' California vegetable market, and Japan is even farther. It quickly becomes personal, though, when their father is taken away by two FBI agents, and the remaining family is transferred to an internment camp. There Jimmy refuses to eat, and his mother and brother grow increasingly anxious that the boy will become ill. Taro sneaks his mother's shears out of the barracks, creeps past the guards, cuts his way through the fence, and runs to a mountain pond where he catches fish in his hands. Weekly nocturnal fishing trips to the pond revive Jimmy in body and spirit, and help Taro fulfill his father's parting charge to "help your mother and take care of Jimmy until I return." This slim plot, based on a pair of episodes from the author's family, is accessible to a young audience, but the conclusion's quick leap from night fishing to happy family reunion may spark a host of unanswerable questions, from how exactly Taro evaded trained guards week after week to how his hole in the fence went unnoticed for so long. While the story may be somewhat puzzling, the stylized acrylic paintings are evocative and involving, with literal renderings of the remote camp interwoven with images from Taro and Jimmy's happy imaginings and nightmarish dreams. A closing note comments briefly on the experiences of Yamasaki's relatives and offers photographs of the internees.



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p. 443
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