My oldest threw herself over the edge of her crib once when she was abut 18 months old. She landed with a thud and a wail, so we were well aware of what had happened.
My youngest would occasionally come downstairs in the middle of the night when she was three or four, but she’d always stand right next to my face until I woke up with a start.
But lots of other kids love to explore at night. Like the main character in Nighttime Ninja (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012) written by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young.
But this child doesn’t think he’s exploring. He thinks he’s being a ninja. And the lovely paper collage illustrations show him as a ninja, so it’s not until relatively late in the book that you discover who he really is and what he’s really after.
In fact, today’s guest reviewer, was thoroughly surprised by how things played out.
Take it away, Patrick.
Today’s reviewer: Patrick
I like: Skiing, playing soccer, playing on my iPod.
This book was about: A little boy who wanted to be a ninja — and he was trying to get down to the kitchen to get some hot chocolate. (Editor’s note: When I read the book, I thought the boy was trying to get ice-cream, but I can see how it could be hot chocolate, too. That’s one of the pleasures of picture books — how many ways they can be interpreted.)
The best part was when: The picture just showed his eyes
I smiled when: When you know it’s a boy and not a real ninja. I thought it was a real ninja the first time.
I was surprised when: His mom said, “How about a back-to-bed mission?”
I was worried when: The lights flooded on.
This book taught me: You can’t get up in the middle of the night.
Three words that best describe this book are: “Exciting.” “Interesting.” “Confusing.” (Because I was sure it was a real ninja.)
My favorite line or phrase in this book is: “He crept down the twisting moonlit hallway, and knelt in the dark shadows, listening.”
Other kids should read this book because: You don’t really know what’s going to happen at the end of the story at the beginning. There’s a lot going on and a lot of surprises.
Thank you, Patrick!
Patrick says he doesn’t usually sneak around at night. But one time he went to get a cookie. But it wasn’t a very successful mission. Half of the cookie fell into the dog kennel.
Nighttime Ninja is Barbara DaCosta’s debut picture book. And, it’s done really well.
It was an ALA Notable selection, a Publishers Weekly “Best Children’s Illustrated Book of 2012″, earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, was a Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2012, a Horn Book “Book of the Week”, and a finalist for James Patterson’s “Read Kiddo Read” contest.
If you’d like to learn more about Barbara, you can visit her blog.