Ba-chan the Ninja Grandma: An Adventure with Little Kunoichi the Ninja Girl

illus. by Sanae Ishida. 32p. glossary. Little Bigfoot. Sept. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781632171184.
PreS-Gr 1—It's summer vacation and Little Kunoichi has exhausted all her favorite activities. Rather than having her laze around their ninja treehouse, her parents decide to send her, her brother, and her pet rabbit to their grandmother. Ba-chan ("Grandma") has all sorts of amazing talents: gardener, poet, inventor of the Kame ("turtle") Submarine, creator of an entire underwater amusement park…there isn't anything that she can't do, and this makes visits with her terribly fun. The entire story is just about their time spent together, eating, and playing. Almost every page is stuffed with the narrated text, extra dialogue, and watercolor illustrations with little details (sometimes several images within its confines). This visually mirrors how busy their schedule is. Kids can learn a lot of neat tidbits about Japanese culture from this latest addition to the series, and it is something that the author encourages. Ishida incorporates a number of Japanese words into the text, only pausing to explain those needed to follow the story; the others are defined in a glossary. Readers unfamiliar with Japanese should be prepared for an irregular use of in-text pronunciation aides. Also, while the words are used correctly, there are several instances in which the author applies the English rules for pluralization.
VERDICT A wonderful family adventure; purchase where intergenerational picture books are in demand.

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