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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hachiko Waits written by Leslea Newman

Hachiko Waits
Hachiko is an akita, a dog, and this book is based on the true story of a legendary dog who is a national symbol in Japan for loyalty and devotion. In this story Professor Ueno has a beautiful golden-brown akita puppy. The puppy, Hachi, goes to the train station each morning with his master and returns each day at the precise time the professor's train returns to greet his master. One day the professor and Hachi meet a young school boy and his mother who also take the train. This young boy, Yasuo Takahashi, will become an important caretaker of the loyal Hachi.

This story is a very touching tale of a beloved pet's determination and loyalty. When Professor Ueno fails to return from work one day (he has died suddenly while at work), Hachi continues to wait for him - for ten years the dog returns to the train station to wait for his master.

Yasuo and his family try to adopt Hachi, but the dog only accepts one master, one who will never return. But day after day Yasuo and the station master took care of the akita as best they could. Others who took the train heard the story, and looked forward to greeting the dog as they left the train. And so it went, until Hachi died.

The true story Hachiko Waits was taken from happened a long time ago, in 1925. A statue was erected in honor of Hachiko and his loyalty. During WWII the statue was melted down. After the war it was replaced. The Author's Note at the end of the book gives the particulars of the true story. Leslea Newman has shared a wonderful story of a loyal dog and the people who recognize his attributes. The glossary at the end of the book helps with pronounciation and understanding of the Japanese terms used. A very interesting tale.

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