Little Kunoichi: The Ninja Girl

illus. by Sanae Ishida. 32p. Sasquatch. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781570619540.
PreS-Gr 2—Little Kunoichi is a ninja girl who lives and trains on a super secret island where she is not doing so well at learning her ninja skills until she meets a young samurai-in-training who inspires her to practice harder. Together, they perform at the Island Festival and although everything does not go perfectly, they have a wonderful time and are able to show off all of their new skills. Ishida's lovely watercolor illustrations stand out and add charm and depth to this playful tale. There is humor to be found hidden in the pictures and children will be able to pour over them, taking in detail, for a long time. The end contains notes titled "Did you know?" that cover various aspects of Japanese culture that can be found throughout the book, including information about words in the story, like Kunoichi, games, clothing, and ninjas. It is refreshing to see a young girl ninja instead of the male ninjas so often portrayed in picture books. The tale's message of practice does not always have to equal perfection will resonate with young readers.
VERDICT A fun title with great appeal.

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