“There is no one better than Bonnie West at finding the sweet, tender spot between comedy and tragedy. These brilliant stories zing with humor and then break your heart – until you laugh out loud again. I envy you if you are reading West’s work for the first time. You are in for a memorable treat.” — Robin Black, author of, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This and Life Drawing.
“Reading this debut collection is like wandering through the wildest antique store you ever dreamed, full of loved things and lost things and the shadows that keep them. Lucky for us, Bonnie West holds the light.” –– Elizabeth Eslami, author of Bone Worship and Hibernate.
“Funny, sad, unexpected and bold, Bonnie West’s stories are like little nuggets of gold, unearthed by a most wise and astute miner.” — Lorna Landvik, author of ten novels including Patty Jane’s House of Curl and Best to Laugh.
Hideki and Kenji Save the Day tells the story of two Japanese boys who experience what they think is an earthquake but discover it is really the running and jumping of a baby dinosaur. Their boisterous new friend runs and jumps and the shaking ground scares everyone in the village. The boys need to figure out a way to stop the earth from shaking while still keeping a baby dinosaur happy.The two authors first met in 2001 in a Community Education Japanese class. They became study partners and friends. In March of 2011, a friend in Japan told West how afraid her two young boys were after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Bonnie and Diane decided to write a story for the boys that their mother could read to them.The book is illustrated by Minneapolis resident Jamie Mosel who studied in Sapporo, Japan. The text was translated by Kazuko Ito West of New York. While intended for children ages 4-8, it is also suitable for people of all ages learning either Japanese or English. It is available at Amazon.com or through this website.
Review in the Star Tribune:
Bonnie West was heartbroken when the earthquakes and tsunami hit Japan in March 2011: The epicenter was near the home of her friend Kayo Kikuchi, whom she had met in St. Paul 11 years before.
West immediately e-mailed Kikuchi. “I hope you and the family are all right. … You know you have a home here in case you need to be evacuated.”
West’s fear escalated when Kikuchi responded, saying her in-laws were missing and her young sons were terrified: “Neo [age 14 months] is OK now, I think. But Ray [4 ½] cries every night, more than usual, and every time an earthquake happens.”
Worse may come, Kikuchi wrote. If the nuclear power plant, which was only 136 miles from their home, began to leak she would indeed send the boys to West’s home.
It was then that West wrote about her hope for the boys: “Perhaps the boys see [the disaster], as children sometimes do, as a great adventure! I think I will try and write a little story for them, about how they are heroes in the earthquake and help everyone they meet.”