Thursday 1 November 2012

306. Nighttime Ninja by Barbara Da Costa with art by Ed Young

Nighttime Ninja by Barbara Da Costa with art by Ed Young
Published October 2012 Little Brown
From the publisher:
Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal...and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission With spare text and lush illustrations, Nighttime Ninja is a fun, adventure-filled story about the power of play and imagination.
I know we probably shouldn’t say that certain books are good for boys, and certain books are good for girls.  All books are for everyone, regardless of gender.  That’s a good theory, but when a pink sparkly picture book is published, there is no doubt as to its intended audience.  I find that there are few picture books that are real 'boy' books, and that’s one of the reasons I like Nighttime Ninja so much.

The text is sparse, describing a ninja on his mission.  While the text is sparse the language is rich, ‘the ninja climbed and clambered’ and he ‘crept down the twisting moonlit hallway’, ‘and knelt in the dark shadows, listening’.  There are even pages that have no text, but even so, the suspense can be felt as this ninja makes his way through the night.

I don’t often do spoilers, but I will with this one, as it’s the ending that makes this book so much fun. So…if you don’t want to know, look away now.  As I said, for me the beauty of this book is with the ending, just when the ninja has reached his destination, a light turns on, and who should be standing there, but the little ninja’s mother!  His mission was to sneak into the kitchen for ice-cream…but he was caught, just as he had the spoils in his grasp!

One of the standout picture books of 2008 was Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein.   While the story was impressive on its own, it was the illustrations that really made that book stand out for me.  The illustrations were by Ed Young,  the creator of the illustrations in today’s book.  It is the artwork that makes this book a must have for me too.  The collage style is quite unique to Ed Young, and it’s a bit like the text, in that it’s simple, but it perfectly supports the story.  Ed Young is one of those artists whose name you may recognise, but when I did a little Google search, I discovered that he has illustrated over 80 children’s books, so there’s a good reason why people will recognise the name.

See the link to Ed Young’s websites where you can see the books he’s illustrated and see the vast number of awards he has won over the years.

Who will like this book: Boys age 4+
Read it if you like: You Must Be Joking! by Mike Dumbleton

1 comment:

  1. I like this book too and it has become a hit in the library along with the ones about Wink who is also a ninja. I also need more 'boy' books of this ilk to complement the Pinkilicious, Fancy Nancy and Princess Poppy series for girls.