The Peace Bell
Margi Preus’ The Peace Bell is a children’s picture book that rings and clangs as lovely as the KA-DOON’s the peace bell in the story chimed throughout the village of Japan. The story, based on true events, depicts the plight of one particularly memorable temple bell which was taken from its village in order to melt it down for scrap metal during World War II, a common practice in wartime Japan. However, this particular temple bell was spared and was ultimately returned to the village people whom longed for its clear toll of peace.
Preus has a firm grasp of masterful storytelling and is able to convey the importance of peace between nations. Readers will walk away not only with a beautifully rendered tale but with knowledge of a piece of history not given its due respect.
Along with Preus’ impeccable ability to tell a story of loss and the renewal of spirit, the Japanese acrylic paint illustrations by Hideko Takahashi do much to illuminate the wonders of Japan: its history, its natural beauty, and its strong, resilient people.
Japan and all its glory will live as long as the peace so many fought and died for in the war. Just like the song of the peace bell reverberated inside the heart of the protagonist, Preus’ story will resound in the reader’s for a long time to come.
* * *
Preus, Marge. The Peace Bell. New York: Henry Holt, 2008.
* * * * *
Published on 8/6/09