Thursday, September 4, 2014

CURRENT PUBLISHING TRENDS: Ninjas!

Books about ninjas are popular this year. I have four to share with you today, all of which kids are sure to enjoy.  This is a trend that I am happy to see considering the many requests I get from young boys for books on this very topic. So if like me you get regular requests for books about ninjas, here are some fun ones to share.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Companion to the hit The Three Ninja Pigs, this fractured fairy tale is a sure-fire storytime hit.

Wolf just can’t catch a break! Ever since the three little pigs started teaching everyone Ninja skills, huffing and puffing just hasn’t been enough to scare up a good meal. 

His craving for meat sends Wolf to classes at the dojo, and soon he’s ready to try out his new moves. A little girl and her tiny granny should be easy targets—right?

Not if Little Red has anything to say about it! Kiya!


REVIEW

I absolutely loved this take on the Red Riding Hood story.  One almost feels compassion for the wolf, which -is definitely a funny twist. If you have read The Three Ninja Pigs then you know going in that the wolf is bound to be in over his head despite his efforts to develop his skills.  Seeing the wolf in a blond wig and glasses in order to sneak into the ninja classes is worth the price of the book alone.  But when he has to face off with Red it appears they are evenly matched leaving the reader wondering how this conflict will be solved.  The ending is quite appropriate and entertaining while being a bit surprising.  All in all a gorgeously illustrated ode to the power of self-defense.


ABOUT THE BOOK

A ninja must be strong, courageous, and silent! He creeps through the house on a secret mission. There may be obstacles! But have no fear—a true ninja can overcome all challenges.

REVIEW

This is a fun book about a young boy pretending to be ninja. The text makes the boy out to be a real ninja facing real ninja challenges like obstacles and being sneaky enough, and accomplishing his task even while facing off with his enemy (his baby sister).  It's a delightful look at the power of belief and imaginative play, not to mention the complications of sibling relationships. A perfect book for those youngsters who want to be a ninja. The illustrations really tell the story here with lots of details involving the proper equipment and the power of surprise. There is also the theme of using one's skills to make not so good choices (he's taking cookies without permission).  There is plenty of room here for discussions about what the statement "He's been dishonored" means when he gets caught and how he redeems himself.



ABOUT THE BOOK

From N. D. Wilson, bestselling author of the 100 Cupboards series, comes this funny and adventurous picture-book debut. It’s time for kindergarten, and a young boy is prepared for the task, thanks to his unflinching ninja skills. The challenges of school are no match for a ninja, with his quick reflexes and immense patience. Featuring colorful and dynamic illustrations by J. J. Harrison, Ninja Boy Goes to School will have all little ninjas eager to learn how to balance like flamingos and gain the strength of gorillas (but without having to smell like one).

REVIEW

The illustrations here are the best part of this book, in my opinions, they are cartoonish with a lot of child appeal.  This ninja story focuses on a boy pretending to be ninja at school and the challenges that brings. The book explains the skills that a ninja develops like being one with his surroundings and being as patient as a tree.  But unfortunately, like many a person, Ninja Boy misuses his powers and must face the consequences. The text implies that the boy is a victim facing injustice which I'm not sure I really like (probably because I'm a teacher), but which many children will be able to relate to.  What I did especially like was his calm reaction to being in trouble and how he doesn't let it change his belief in himself.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Follow this little ninja as he sneaks up on the family dog, swipes a cookie from his brother, and escapes from Granny’s kiss . . . only to be out-ninja’d by his younger brother’s sneak attack! Young readers will be drawn in by the fast-paced rhymes that parallel the little ninja’s quick moves, and will chant the refrain with glee! This humorous ode to stalking, sneaking, spying, and scheming is sure to be read over and over again, inspiring imaginary play for a new generation of ninjas.

REVIEW

I wasn't sure I liked this book at first with the little boy seeming to be totally out of control and teasing his little brother, but then he makes up for it and his little brother gets him back and then joins the fun.  In the end I did end up liking the fun,fast moving rhymes and the cute illustrations.  A great read aloud and discussion starter about the importance of playing nicely.

4 comments:

  1. How fun! I'm going to have to find some of these at our library. My daughter loves ninjas.

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    Replies
    1. Ninjas do seem to be very popular with a lot of kids. Enjoy!

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  2. I had no idea this was such a trend! I just received another ninja picture book from Owl Kids Books called Dojo Daycare. When I post my review, I'll link to your post for read-alikes.

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  3. Great round up! You're so right; ninjas are popular. My three year old is very into them, and I'm happy to find more age appropriate versions for him.

    Brittany - Tales of a Bookworm

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