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Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, December 10, 1999

Book cover

‘Surfrider’ captures
mystic lure of ocean


Greg Ambrose,
Special to the Star-Bulletin


THE world is awash in a tsunami of literature about surfing. You can hardly open a magazine or visit a bookstore without reading about the thrills of wave-riding.

In all of this flood of surf-related prose and poetry, nothing captures the pure stoke of the venerable Polynesian pastime as well as a simple, joyous little tale improbably set on a small farm in Illinois.


Bullet "The Surfrider: A Midwestern Odyssey"
Bullet Thomas Paul Rogo
Bullet (Bess Press); 73 pages;
Bullet $19.95 hardcover, $14.95 paperback

Without giving away too much of the plot, a country boy becomes obsessed with the idea of riding waves after reading about the exploits of Duke Kahanamoku.

What makes the tale exceptional is that author Thomas Paul Rogo goes straight to the heart of the ocean's hypnotic effect on people, and is able to make everyone feel that delightful relationship.

Rogo's enchantment is heightened by his splendid paintings, which have the same genius that allowed Norman Rockwell's illustrations earlier this century to capture the essence of America's special rituals and customs.

"The Surfrider: A Midwestern Odyssey" is an inspiring tale for boys and girls. Even more importantly, it is an elegant story that lets us reacquaint ourselves with the child that still lives in all of us, regardless of age.

Rogo's fable is as refreshing as the memory of a summer morning at the beach from a distant past, filled with the magic and promise of youth.

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