Get Mooned: Joey & Johnny, the Ninjas, Book 1

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Get Mooned: Joey & Johnny, the Ninjas, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Giddily fun start to ninja series has lots of fighting.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Martial-arts terminology.

Positive Messages

Technology can be more of a hassle than a help -- and it's worth the time and effort to learn how to manage without it. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Patient, persistent heroes don't shrink from danger. Friends are supportive and understanding; they still love a classmate who runs away to the rival school. Students have faith in their teachers, despite their eccentricity.

Violence & Scariness

Abundant and silly cartoon violence. Students are in deadly peril in classes such as Sharp and Pointy and Fight; they fear their headmaster might actually kill them. One character appears to disintegrate, but it isn't clear if he's dead. Cuts and other injuries are treated lightly and don't seem serious. A ninja group deploys missiles, explosives, and other weapons. 

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Get Mooned: Joey & Johnny, the Ninjas, Book 1​ kicks off a funny, frenetically paced series. Spot illustrations and intermittent comic-strip sequences add to the appeal, especially for graphic novel fans. The violence -- and there's a lot of it -- is over-the-top ridiculous: daily battles with a venomous mountain-dwelling octopus, school lunch turned into a contact sport, a class focused on wielding and avoiding all things sharp and pointy. The octopus’ venom causes victims to behave similarly to someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs; they speak nonsense, appear to hallucinate, and ultimately pass out.

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What's the story?

Best friends Joey and Johnny are students at Kick Foot Academy, a very traditional -- and dangerous! -- ninja school in Lemming Falls. Though they're devoted to becoming spectacular ninjas, they seem to cause chaos wherever they go. Nevertheless, their intimidating headmaster taps them to keep tabs on a suspicious exchange student, who turns out to be a superhero sidekick-in-training. On their mission, the boys discover that their rivals in Red Moon Clan have been arming themselves with mechanical suits and high-tech weaponry -- which is so not ninja. The two ninja schools must face each other in the traditional Test of Three to determine which school will survive -- and which will shut down for good.

Is it any good?

Joey and Johnny hurtle from one amped-up adventure to the next in a lively world filled with ninjas, superheroes, con men, and shadowy villains. The silliness is sometimes crammed to overflowing.

The plot of GET MOONED unspools loosely, with meandering asides on pop culture or the astral plane. There's hardly a line of dialogue or a descriptive sentence that doesn't aim for a chuckle. But most of those chuckles are well-earned with engaging wordplay and clever writing. Comics panels and spot illustrations add to the fun and help draw readers, even reluctant ones, in.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the pros and cons of technological tools. Do you ever find technology that's supposed to help actually gets in the way of what you're trying to do?

  • Does this strike you as a violent book? Would it seem different as a movie or TV show? Do you think that media violence affects kids?

  • The Red Moon Clan school seems to operate like a video game, with often random-seeming achievements. How do in-game rewards and offers affect the way you play?

Book details

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