So when Heyerdahl was asked if he would be willing to try the voyage himself on a flimsy balsa wood raft, he rose to the challenge. Heyerdahl had based his theory on the resemblance between statues made by ancient peoples in South America to those of the mythic Tiki found on the Polynesian island of Fatu Hiva.
On April 28, 1947, after building a raft which he called the Kon-Tiki, Heyerdahl set off from Peru with a crew of five men - four Norwegians and one Swede. Not only did Heyerdahl want to prove his theory, but he was also asked to test survival gear by the United States Navy. Carrying very little food with them, the crew mainly lived on what they could catch everyday, and the flying fish they found on the deck each morning. They carried a radio to report on weather and other meteorological conditions, but everyone aboard the Kon-Tiki knew that if they ran into trouble, there was no possibility of rescue.
Almost immediately, the south Pacific Ocean proved itself to be a forceful obstacle to the voyage of the Kon-Tiki, with its powerful winds and towering waves. Did the Kon-Tiki prove itself to be sea worthy? Did the raft make it to the south pacific islands with all men intact and prove Heyerdahl's theory?
|The route taken by the Kon-Tiki|
Deborah Kogan Ray has organized the story of the Kon-Tiki so that each two page spread, headed by a quote from Heyerdahl's book, shows another step in the voyage of that simple raft. Ray's realistic illustrations are done using watercolors in a soft palette very tropical blues, greens and browns. The illustrations are at once beautiful and powerful, often demonstrating the mountainous waves of the Pacific in relation to the small raft, as well as other perils the men of Kon-Tiki faced.
Ray has included a map (above), a short biography of Thor Heyerdahl and an Bibliography for further exploration.
Most people don't think much about the voyage of the Kon-Tiki anymore and this is a nice reminder of the brave men who undertook that trip.
This book is recommended for readers age 7+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL
This is book 1 of my 2016 Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge hosted by Alyson Beecher at KidLitFrenzy