New releases by Hawaii authors

"Ke Aupuni Mo'i" by S.M. Kamakau (Kamehameha Schools Press, $54.95 and $29.95)

Whatever the limited market is for all-Hawaiian language books of recycled historical materials, there's no denying that this is an extraordinarily handsome production, ranging from the Barbara Pope-designed layout to the careful attention to typography and paper selection. This is the second half of Kamakau's extraordinary history of the early Kamehamehas that ran in Hawaiian newspapers during the late 1860s. It's in the original language and order in which he wrote the series, although the Hawaiian has been updated for modern clarity. The meat of Kamakau's scholarship is available in English in the famous "Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii" volume, which came out in the early 1960s, but it's now apparent that there was some self-editing among the scholars who created that seminal work. A full translation is still needed.

"Kendo -- Elements, Rules and Philosophy" by Jinichi Tokeshi (University of Hawaii Press, $20)
To the uninitiated, kendo is the sport of dressing up in umpire protection and whacking at each other with sticks. The sport is actually largely philosophical in nature, which Hono-lulu physician Tokeshi makes clear. Everything you need to know is in this most complete guide, illustrated with some thinly drawn sketches.

"Na Lei Makamae" by Marie A. McDonald and Paul R. Weissich (University of Hawaii Press, $49.95)
Although scholars McDonald and Weissich are the big names here, what you'll remembers best about this lovely book is the design by Momi Cazimero and the photography by Jean Cote. Here at last is a colorful guide to lei that is neither pedantic nor shallow -- it places the wearing of lei directly into the daily lifestyle of Hawaiians, past and present.

"The Night Before Christmas in Hawaii" by Sue Carabine (Gibbs Smith, $5.95)
Carabine has created her own cottage industry writing slim "Night Before Christmas" stocking stuffers set in various locales around the world. The Hawaii version is full of the sort of localisms one can find in an hour's research on the Web, but nothing's really wrong either, except I'm pretty sure "surprise' and "Molokai" don't rhyme.

Reviewed by Burl Burlingame

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