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Blue Fingers: A Ninja's Tale by Cheryl…
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Blue Fingers: A Ninja's Tale (2004)

by Cheryl Aylward Whitesel

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This is a book that I read in my search for books that my 13 year old reluctant reader son might like. It is set in 16th century Japan at a time when the Samurai clans ruled the country. Twelve year old Koji, one of twin boys in a poor peasant family, is captured by a secretive Ninja clan who live in the remote mountains. His life is changed as he is forced to participate in mysterious ninja training. Slowly, he turns from his clumsy and lazy ways, and also mistrust and thoughts of escape, to one of belonging, responsibility and pride in his hard won new skills. As he becomes more mature and trusted by the ninja clan, he is allowed to join more missions and see how the ninja try to help the common peasants.

The author gives plenty of action, but also a lot of information about the Japanese philosophy of ninjutsu, Japanese customs, beliefs and superstitions. It is basically a well done coming of age story in a fascinating, alluring setting that I think will appeal to my son. Here's hoping anyway. ( )
  chinquapin | Dec 27, 2011 |
Koji is an adolescent boy growing up in Feudal Japan, 1545. He is an identical twin, and twins during that time were considered unlucky and dangerous as it was believed that the "ki," or energy, between twins was uniquely powerful and not to be reckoned with. Koji was originally to be a dye-master's apprentice, but after he runs away to go return home as he cannot keep up with his duties, Koji is kidnapped by a secret ninja clan, known as the, "grass." Koji is extremely resistant to his new life as a ninja at first, but after learning that the, "daimyo," or feudal warlord burns his home village because they were not able to pay their taxes on time and learns that his father died putting out the fires. Koji becomes a fully trained ninja named, "Blue Fingers," from having stained blue fingers as a dye-maker's apprentice. He avenges his father's death and destruction of his home by teaming up with his twin, Taro, and ninja trainer, Spider, to play a trick on the daimyo and making him think that he had a prophetic dream about his son being killed by a musket. The daimyo cancels a whole shipment of muskets that potentially could have brought more death and destruction.

What makes the story an excellent read is not only the accurate, detailed setting of Feudal Japan, but to see Koji naturally mature from a bratty, whiny, "paddy frog," to a confident and self-possessed ninja. The fictional ninja clan blends in so well with the historical aspects of the story - the author incorporates their daily lives and training, mission to battle the samurais and daimyo for land rights, and even the after effects of being a ninja as the clan leader, Dark Fire, suffers from arthritis a result of the ability to dislocate his joints at will.

The author provides a very informative afterword with the brief history of Feudal Japan, the societal structure at the time, and the introduction of muskets. The author also distinguishes the fictional Blue Fingers and his family, and provides a glossary of Japanese terms and an extensive bibliography about the history of Feudal Japan.

Perfect book for ages 9-12, and is a great tool for teaching ancient world history and cultures. ( )
  elainevbernal | Nov 18, 2011 |
i like this book its kind of slow in the beggining bcause there is so many descriptions and thn it starrts getting more interesting as you read ( )
  sandoval69julio | Apr 5, 2011 |
** spoiler alert ** You know, I'm about to eat my words. One time, I said "Historical fiction aren't always good books," and you know what? This book has totally proved me wrong.I LOVED this book-if I could, I'd rate this book to infinity! It has suspense, history, compassion,and everything you need to make a book a excellent one.I loved that the book said that Kojii basked in his brother's glory, but in the end, Taro, his brother, admits that he feels like he's basking in Kojii's glory;because Taro was second to do everything. I loved that Spider seems to only want to choose Koji/Blue Finger's ki bearerjust because he wants to make him get the wron one for him, but in truth, the bamboo flute is the right one for Kojii/blue fingers.Spider had this dream that he was playing Norimaru's flute because when Lord Udo found Spider's father and brother in peasant clothes, lying on the ground, about to die, he just sat there and listened to his son's flute and listen to them die when they were ona ninja ...more You know, I'm about to eat my words. One time, I said "Historical fiction aren't always good books," and you know what? This book has totally proved me wrong.I LOVED this book-if I could, I'd rate this book to infinity! It has suspense, history, compassion,and everything you need to make a book a excellent one.I loved that the book said that Kojii basked in his brother's glory, but in the end, Taro, his brother, admits that he feels like he's basking in Kojii's glory;because Taro was second to do everything. I loved that Spider seems to only want to choose Koji/Blue Finger's ki bearerjust because he wants to make him get the wron one for him, but in truth, the bamboo flute is the right one for Kojii/blue fingers.Spider had this dream that he was playing Norimaru's flute because when Lord Udo found Spider's father and brother in peasant clothes, lying on the ground, about to die, he just sat there and listened to his son's flute and listen to them die when they were ona ninja mission. Ever since, Spider has been having strange dreams/nightmares that he would be playing the flute and getting his revenge, but when Kojii came, Spider was angry because in his dreams, Kojii was playing it.... ( )
  tygers_eye | Sep 14, 2010 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Paul my very own jonin and to Ross born with the heart of a ninja
First words
Koji peeked between the rain shutters of the thatched farmhouse and watched for his twin brother.
Quotations
You are here to stay, Koji...but you are free to choose your attitude.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618381392, Hardcover)

The power and prowess of ninja never seem to lose their appeal to young readers, especially boys. Blue Fingers, a suspenseful, action-packed coming-of-age story set in feudal Japan, offers an up-close look at this noble, fierce way of life.
Through an odd twist of fate, a stubborn twelve-year-old boy named Koji is kidnapped by a secret ninja clan and taken to its hidden camp high in the mountains. He wants desperately to return home, but that is forbidden. He must forget his old life and become a ninja-or die. In this carefully researched and well-crafted novel, Koji must learn to survive in the mysterious and dangerous world of the ninja and fulfill a destiny far different from any he could have imagined. Afterword.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:17 -0400)

Having failed apprenticeship as a dye maker, Koji is captured and forced to train as a ninja, where he remains disloyal until he discovers samurai have burned his former village.

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