Little Kunoichi's entire family are ninjas, and she wants to be a ninja too. She attends the Secret Ninja Girls School for her training. The only problem is ninja skills don't come naturally to Kunoichi. She doesn't kick as high or fight as fast as her classmates and her stealth mode leaves much to be desired. Frustrated, she sneaks away to the forest to train in secret. While in the forest, she meets Chibi, a samurai-in-training who is also struggling in school. They become friends and support each other as they work hard to become skilled martial artists.
There is so much to love in this picture book by Sanae Ishida! The watercolor illustrations are charming and fun. The Japanese style of houses and trees just carries me to another place that is part Japan and part fantasy world. The picture above is one of my favorites - a purple ninja dojo with cherry blossoms blooming just sets the imagination turning! If you would like to see more art work by Ishida, she has a great blog where she shows off her paintings as well as some pretty awesome DIY and sewing projects.
This story touched my heart with the lesson it teaches. Not everyone is a natural talent. If you love baseball, and you spend your first game striking out at every turn to bat, keep practicing. I love any book that teaches my children that success comes from a passionate dedication to hard work and consistency. My nine year old is at an age where if he doesn't get it right on the first try, he sulks and wants to quit. I get the feeling we are going to be talking a lot about the little ninja girl and her determination to get better.