Niya Moto is the only one-legged Samurai kid in Japan, famous for falling flat on his face in the dirt. None of the samurai schools will teach crippled Niya, until an offer arrives from the legendary samurai warrior Ki-Yaga, sensei of the Cockroach Ryu. Together with the other Cockroaches, Niya must defeat the fierce Dragon Ryu at the Samurai Trainee Games.
- An historically accurate depiction of feudal Japan; the focus on martial arts will appeal to active kids!
- An exciting new series for boys and girls that celebrates differences
Extract – Chapter One: Little Cockroaches
I scissor kick high as I can and land on my left foot. I haven’t got another one. My name is Niya Moto and I’m the only one-legged samurai kid in Japan. Usually I miss my foot and land on my backside. Or flat on my face in the dirt.
I’m not good at exercises, but I’m great at standing on one leg. Raising my arms over my head, I pretend I am the White Crane. ‘Look at me,’ the crane screeches across the training ground. ‘Look at him,’ the valley echoes.
But Sensei Ki-Yaga is not looking. My master sits in the sun with his back against the old stooped cherry tree. He is as ancient as the mountains around our ryu school and as dilapidated as the equipment we use. Most people think he died years ago.
Eyes shut, he’s not watching me practise. That lazy old man slept through the only upright landing I’ve ever made! I lower my right arm and the White Crane makes a rude gesture with its wing.
Sensei’s wrinkled mouth creaks into a smile but his eyes stay hidden behind closed lids.
‘A boy who cannot perfectly execute even half a scissor kick should not waste time finding fault with his teacher. More practice, Little Cockroach.” His voice rumbles like thunder.
‘Yes Master.’ I bow low to show my respect. Even though he is strict, I like Sensei and I never forget he was the only teacher not bothered by my missing leg.
‘I am not a counter of feet,’ he told me. ‘I am a collector of more important parts. And when I buy you socks, they will last twice as long.’
Copyright © 2007 Sandy Fussell
DMag March 2008
A great read with plenty of action and stories from the Sensei
Australian Bookseller and Publisher March 2008
Told in the timeless present making it move along at a good pace. As an enjoyable, well constructed story for a wide age-range, it’s a winner Magpies
White Crane is the first title in the new Samurai Kids series. This perfectly wrought tale will delight child and adult readers alike. Set in the mountains of Japan, and with a blend of mysticism, adventure and exploration of friendship, this is a wonderful offering for primary aged readers. NSW Assoc. for Gifted and Talented Children
A good read for upper primary children looking for adventure and action with a touch of Japan Australian Bookseller and Publisher
…its easy readability makes it accessible for nearly everyone, young and old. I would recommend this book for anyone above the age of 10…. much older readers will also get something out of it, whether it be an appreciation of Bushido, the noble samurai code, the idea to look through the surface and see the person beneath or simply a very good read Yarra Review