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White Crane (Samurai Kids Book 1) by Sandy…
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White Crane (Samurai Kids Book 1) (edition 2008)

by Sandy Fussell

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543218,071 (4.2)1
Member:booksandwine
Title:White Crane (Samurai Kids Book 1)
Authors:Sandy Fussell
Info:Walker Books (2008), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:bea-2010, for-review, middle-grade, multicultural, and to-read

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White Crane by Sandy Fussell

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One-legged Niya gets his wish to be a samurai, when he is accepted as a student by legendary sensei Ki-Yaga, whose students are all disabled in some way. When the Cockroach Ryu faces the Dragon Ryu at the Samurai Trainee Games, they seem to be at a disadvantage, but they work together to try to overcome the odds.
  EthicalCultureLib | Oct 24, 2010 |
(Advance Reader Copy)
Set in an undetermined year, after the heyday of the samurai warrior class and prior to its demise in the 19th century, White Crane is an improbable story of a ryu, or Japanese school of martial arts, inhabited by a revered warrior teacher and his hand-picked students, each disabled in some way. Niya Moto is White Crane, the story's one-legged narrator, so named for his spirit totem. The white crane is a kindred creature, as comfortable as Niya in standing upon only one leg. Kyoko, the White Monkey is an albino with extra fingers and toes. One-armed Mikko is the Striped Gecko, Taji is blind and guided by the Golden Bat. Yoshi, pacifist, yet strong and sturdy, still searches for his spirit. All are under the guidance of the wily Sensei, who is so old that the mere mention of his name usually elicits the response, "I thought he was dead." All are preparing for the yearly ceremonial competition between the Boar, Dragon, Eagle, Rabbit, Snake, Wolf and Cockroach ryus. Niya's ryu is, of course, The Cockroach; but as Sensei reminds his pupils,

"Cockroaches are small, but they are very hard to kill."

Though the characters may be improbable, White Crane is believable. With writing reflective of the Japanese philosophical code known as Bushido, the reader is drawn into a world in which the most important concerns are Chi! Jin! Yu!, wisdom, benevolence, courage. White Crane is not without humor, however. When the boys travel to the village to see the master swordsmith, they bow low to honor his age, reputation and craftsmanship,

"He chants as he works, I want to listen, but Onaku's singing is even worse than mine. Covering my ears would be impolite, so I grit my teeth and hum inside my head. Om. Om. Om. "An honorable sword sings loudly with truth and purity, " Sensei teaches. No wonder Master Onaku's swords are so prized. They are born singing at the top of their lungs to drown out their maker's awful voice."

The chapters move swiftly, each containing an illustrated title page and a additional full page, action-packed sketch by Rhian Nest James. With five students, many competing schools, and a fascinating period in history, debut author Sandy Fussell has all the ingredients for a great new series. Recommended for 4th grade and up.
http://www.shelf-employed.blogspot.com ( )
  shelf-employed | Jul 27, 2010 |
I really enjoyed this book which I read to rate for the Challenge. It is about a group of disabled kids in ancient Japan, who are taken in by an old Sensei Ki-Yaga to be educated in the ways of the Samurai despite thier shortcomings. The book is narrated by Niya, who only has one leg and has the spirit totem of the White Crane, and he details the problems each of the Cockroach Ryu (school) students must face - Kyoko ( albino, girl, six fingers & toes) - Mikko ( one arm) -Taji (blind) -Yoshi (huge but cannot fight) - Nezume ( beaten, homeless). This book details their fight against the powerful Dragon school in a tournament against all the other Samurai schools in the area and how they must overcome the hurtful laughter & teasing from the other students and uphold Bushido the Samurai code.
  nicsreads | Mar 28, 2008 |
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Even though he has only one leg, Niya Moto is studying to be a samurai, and his five fellow-students are similarly burdened, but sensei Ki-Yaga, an ancient but legendary warrior, teaches them not only physical skills but mental and spiritual ones as well, so that they are well-equipped to face their most formidable opponents at the annual Samurai Games.… (more)

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