A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids get information about ninjas, what they do, and what their needs are. And, since the text is written something like a how-to, kids might talk about other roles they're interested in and what the needs of those jobs are.
Older siblings can help younger siblings and teach them things. For example, when we want to dress up or pretend, we can find the things we need lying around the house.
Positive Role Models
Though the young boy scarfs his little sister’s snack, it’s all in good ninja fun, and he redeems himself by playing with her and teaching her "the way of the ninja" at the end.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ninja! is an action-packed story for young ninjas-in-training. The deadpan text describing the needs of a ninja contrasts with exaggerated stealth depicted in the illustrations, in which a little boy outfits himself as a ninja, using things he finds around the house, then sneaks off on a mission to capture his little sister's milk and cookies. There's lots of fun in the art as the ninja outwits the family dog, pounces on his napping dad, and creeps up on his little sister. When he makes her cry, he shows remorse and resolves to teach her "the way of the ninja."
Is It Any Good?
Ninja! is lots of fun. Young readers who like their picture books action-packed will get lots of satisfaction watching the little ninja sneak through the darkened house on his stealthy mission. Single pages of action-packed panels alternate with full-page spreads. The little ninja is amusingly spindly legged and is clearly and cleverly outfitted in items found around the house.
Though it’s an action story, there’s a sweetness to it, too. He just wants milk and cookies, and he feels remorse ("dishonor") when he makes his sister cry. A sure bet for all would-be ninjas who like to engage in pretend and role-playing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.