For Little Kunoichi, ninja school is hard, but with practice, friendship, and humor, she flies high at the Island Festival.
Tucked away on a secret island, Little Kunoichi lives with her ninja family, attending a supersecret ninja girls’ school. But scaling cliffs and using nunchucks and throwing stars don’t come easy. Everything changes when she spies Chibi Samurai, a small boy with middling skills, practicing with great determination. Inspired, Little Kunoichi applies herself, and when the two meet, their dedication to shugyo (“training like crazy”) makes their friendship bloom. Together they prepare for the Island Festival, where they wow the crowd and grow in confidence (despite a lost ninja star or two). Ishida cleverly and drolly promotes the virtues of hard work, imagination, and play. There is much to intrigue both genders, from silly jokes and pink dragons to swordplay and cunning. Beautiful, vivid pops of color—at once both gentle and vibrant—fill the spreads. The lovely paint-on-paper illustrations have a winning honesty and whimsy. From the text to the artwork, everything about Little Kunoichi’s life and culture is made to feel special. This thoughtfulness extends to the backmatter, as a concluding page explains Japanese words and cultural references.
Stunning artwork, full of warmth and pizazz, presents a lovable heroine who will win hearts with her perseverance and humor. (Picture book. 3-7)