WHITE CRANE by Sandy Fussell

WHITE CRANE

From the "Samurai Kids" series, volume 1
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 11 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

Set in an alternative feudal-ish Japan, this is the story of five kids with severe disabilities or disfigurements who have been accepted for training in a school for samurai. The unusual Cockroach Ryu is directed by the elderly, highly respected (and amusingly crotchety) samurai Ki-Yaga. Ki-Yaga and his equally cranky horse, Uma, are distinct as characters and add much to the book—humor, tactics and the use of pudding as a tool for success. The plot starts unusually slowly, limiting tension, suspense and probably audience, since adventure fans expect lashings of the first two qualities from the start. And the five students in this book are identified primarily by their disabilities (blindness, one leg, one arm, having six fingers, fear of fighting) for the first third of the story. This disappointingly reductive technique results in unclear characterization; by the time additional and critical back story is provided, many readers will have given up. Given these flaws, it is doubtful that most kids will stay with the book long enough to become engaged with story or characters. (Adventure. 11-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4503-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2010




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