Today's awesome new book find is:
I had high hopes that J. C. Phillipps was a man, but then I realized that guys don't often write kids books about flamboyant ninjas and then illustrate them with pieces of origami paper. Alas, they should.
Anyway, in my search, I found out that J. C. is actually Julie. This is what she has to say about Wink! on her blog: "It is the story of a boy named Wink who is SUPER EXCITED to attend the Summer Moon School for Young Ninjas. He can kick, tumble, and punch but he can't seem to be quiet or stay hidden. Wink doesn't get the whole stealth aspect of it. Needless to say, he gets in a lot of trouble. He is expelled after a particularly "showy" day at the zoo. Then Wink discovers a family of circus performers and finds a place he can truly shine."
Throughout the book, Wink is often scolded by his awesomely stereotypical sensei (I'm pretty sure J.C./Julie just copied a picture of Pai Mei (from Kill Bill vol. II)). Master Zutsu to send him home several times with admonishments that read like proverbs: "The loudest cricket is the first to be caught" and "The blossom that flaunts its color is soon plucked." Wink's grandmother tries to cheer him up and shares a few proverbial sayings of her own, including "Time spent laughing is time well spent" and "Sometimes a worry must rest."
I love this book not only for its beautiful cut paper illustrations, but because it spreads an important message. We should accept every ninja for themselves, regardless of their pink flowered shinobi shozoku (that's fancy talk for ninja clothes) or their desire to dance with ribbons while roundhouse kicking. Because, let's face it, if you got the skills you'll go far.