Along with learning typical skills, each student at ninja school develops a special, individual one—except, apparently, for Ruby.
Not that Ruby doesn’t try hard…but unlike her fellow students she just can’t get the hang of slithering invisibly, being brave, or even sitting patiently. Despite the reassurances of her instructor, Master Willow, she despairs of ever finding her secret skill. But then, one night when everyone in the dorm suffers an attack of homesickness, she bravely (invisibly) slips out to patiently stitch up an armload of stuffed dragons and hand them out along with comforting tales of courage and daring. “Ruby, your skills are no longer a secret,” observes Master Willow. “You are a wonderful storyteller, a fine dragon maker, and a very good friend.” Pilutti uses a mostly pastel palette, the flat compositions occasionally recalling mid-20th-century classics despite the trendy theme (the dormitory in particular will have readers thinking of Madeline). She gives readers inspired to emulate Ruby appended, traceable patterns for both felt and nonstitch paper dragons. Ruby and Master Willow are both depicted in the cartoon illustrations with pale skin; the ninja-suited students display similarly drawn facial features but an array of skin tones.
No need for a black body suit to be a ninja-in-training. (Picture book. 6-8)