Ninja Boy’s Secret

Tuttle. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9784805315262.
PreS-Gr 1–A picture book about being true to yourself in which a boy shows his father that his calling is not being a ninja like his dad, but rather, playing the violin. In the beginning of the story, the drawings are mostly black and white and the text is minimal. “Ninja Boy did not want to be a ninja. He did not want to be as still as a stone.” Colors are introduced when Ninja Boy starts playing the violin. As he sits barefoot in a tree playing the instrument, he is surrounded by vibrant green leaves, purple flowers, and birds. Text says, “He wanted to make music that bloomed like a hillside of daffodils and harmonized with birdsong in the trees.” Schneider introduces vocabulary including scale, concerto, and octave, all of which are defined at the back of the book. Ninja Boy’s love of music gets more pronounced as the story progresses. For example, as he plays, a rainbow of colors flows out of his instrument. When he has difficulty telling his dad about his heart’s desire, he plays the violin and his passion for music become obvious. His father approves and says, “Yes, my son, Yes! This is who you are. You make music. Beautiful music!”
VERDICT This title is recommended for public and school libraries as a title about speaking up and being one’s authentic self.

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