Nighttime Ninja

( 3 )

Overview

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.

Winner of the 2013 Children's Choice ...

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Overview

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.

Winner of the 2013 Children's Choice Book of the Year Award for Grades K-2

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
DaCosta builds her debut on the scaffolding of the suspenseful adventure that turns out to be make-believe. Illustrators of stories like these sometimes hint at what’s coming with comic artwork, but Young’s (The House That Baba Built) collages are deadly serious as he enters fully into the boy’s fantasy. His ninja, a black silhouette, breaks into a house and makes his way silently toward some unknown object: “He crept down the twisting moonlit hallway, and knelt in the dark shadows, listening.” Suddenly, a huge mother-shaped shadow flicks the light on, and the ninja is revealed as a boy sneaking into the kitchen for ice cream. Readers will be jolted (in a good way)—they’ve been immersed in the ninja’s search, and it’s tense with expectation. Artwork as fine as Young’s might overshadow the story, but DaCosta crafts her spare text carefully and with humor. Her ninja language tracks the boy’s actions right up to the moment he grabs a spoon. The depth of feeling Da Costa and Young give to the boy’s fantasy makes this a standout. Ages 3–6. Illustrator’s agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis. (Sept.)
Booklist
* Young's expressive collage artwork, built of fabric, paper, and bits of string, hums with vitality, even in the silence of midnight...Beneath these frames, debut author DaCosta's spare, sinuous prose reinforces the ninja's intrepid, surreptitious elegance...With measured pacing, careful design, and a beautifully symbiotic partnership of word and image, this enormously appealing, timeless story promises to delight preschool audiences and families alike for years to come.
The Horn Book

"A spare text loaded with tension paired with evocative illustrations make this a bedtime story that will be asked for again and again."
The Wall Street Journal
"Wonderfully mysterious...[A] pitch-perfect bedtime read."
Booklist (starred review)
* "Young's expressive collage artwork, built of fabric, paper, and bits of string, hums with vitality, even in the silence of midnight...Beneath these frames, debut author DaCosta's spare, sinuous prose reinforces the ninja's intrepid, surreptitious elegance...With measured pacing, careful design, and a beautifully symbiotic partnership of word and image, this enormously appealing, timeless story promises to delight preschool audiences and families alike for years to come."
From the Publisher
* "Young's expressive collage artwork, built of fabric, paper, and bits of string, hums with vitality, even in the silence of midnight...Beneath these frames, debut author DaCosta's spare, sinuous prose reinforces the ninja's intrepid, surreptitious elegance...With measured pacing, careful design, and a beautifully symbiotic partnership of word and image, this enormously appealing, timeless story promises to delight preschool audiences and families alike for years to come."—Booklist (starred review)

"Succinct language full of vivid verbs describing the action sets the mood for Young's lushly textured illustrations...Good to share at bedtime with antsy adventurers."—Kirkus

"A spare text loaded with tension paired with evocative illustrations make this a bedtime story that will be asked for again and again."—The Horn Book

"Young's austere, nearly abstract mixed-media collage illustrations...perfectly complement DaCosta's spare but neatly suspenseful story."—School Library Journal

"Wonderfully mysterious...[A] pitch-perfect bedtime read."—The Wall Street Journal

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"The clock struck midnight..." Two textless double pages follow this introduction as a dark-clad figure climbs a secured rope hand over hand. Just a few words per page describe his steps in the silent house, as he creeps down the hallway and kneels to listen and look. As he takes out his tools, a light suddenly goes on and a menacing black shadow covers the double page. But it is only the imaginative young ninja's mother, demanding to know what he is doing. "Nothing," is his reply. He complains that he has not finished his "mission," which appears to concern some chocolate ice cream. His mother says his mission is "getting-back-into-bed." She leads him there, wishing him: "Sweet dreams, Nighttime Ninja." Two eyes stare at us from the black paper jacket; they appear again sideways on the cover. The end pages depict gray figures climbing ropes; on the next page they are attached to the stark white letters of the title. Young uses cut paper, textured cloth, string, and colored pencil to create this dramatic visual mystery with both suspense and humor as we follow the shadowy ninja's movements. Some illustrations are in patterned frames on colored pages; others bleed to the edges. Framed on the final page we see a spoon in the melted chocolate ice cream along with a child-like sketch of our ninja hero.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—It's midnight and a ninja is sneaking through a silent house. He's creeping closer and closer to his target until suddenly, "the lights flash on!" In an unexpectedly humorous twist, the ninja turns out to be a little boy caught by his mother in his attempt to raid the kitchen. She confiscates his midnight snack and sends her little ninja back to bed. Young's austere, nearly abstract mixed-media collage illustrations are mostly black silhouettes of the ninja in various action poses, set against paper and fabric backgrounds. They perfectly complement DaCosta's spare but neatly suspenseful story. Pair this one with J. C. Phillipps's Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed (Viking, 2009) and David Bruins's The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear (Kids Can, 2009) for a fun ninja-themed storytime.—Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Debut picture-book author DaCosta pens the quietly suspenseful quest of a ninja on a late-night mission…to the kitchen! Succinct language full of vivid verbs describing the action sets the mood for Young's lushly textured illustrations composed with cut paper, cloth, string and colored pencil. "The clock struck midnight…" and a grappling hook appears on the page turn, followed by a nimble and stealthy figure in black ably navigating every obstacle in his path. Climbing and clambering, balancing and leaping, he finally reaches his goal. Just as the ninja takes out his tools and goes to work, "Suddenly the lights flash on!" On this spread, the dusky hues and patterns utilized up to this point vanish to show an imposing hand-on-hip towering black silhouette against a glaringly bright, white background. Of course it turns out to be the child's mother catching her little one with a spoon stuck into what appears to be a chocolate-flavored treat. With the mission for a sweet snack aborted, mother proposes, "how about a getting-back-into-bed mission?" This relatively gentle tale celebrating the power of imagination fails to cover new territory but is executed quite well. Good to share at bedtime with antsy adventurers but too subdued a choice for die-hard Ninjago fans. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316203845
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 103,808
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: AD150L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara DaCosta

Barbara DaCosta, as a child, was a precocious nighttime ninja, constantly climbing out of the crib in search of cookies and other interesting things. She has since cut back on the climbing and the cookies, but still enjoys finding the interesting things in life to write about. Nighttime Ninja is her first children's picture book. She makes her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Ed Young is the illustrator of more than eighty books for children, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Lon Po Po, and the New York Times bestseller Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein. He has also written and illustrated The House Baba Built, which recounts his childhood in Shanghai. Born in China, Ed moved to the United States as a young man and pursued his love of art. Nighttime Ninja is the type of picture book Ed would have loved as a young boy. He currently lives in New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    Ninja

    Awesome

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 6, 2013

    What is a ninja anyway?  The dictionary states:  (Japanese) a me

    What is a ninja anyway?  The dictionary states:  (Japanese) a member of the ninja who were trained in martial arts and hired for espionage, sabotage or assassinations; a person skilled in Ninjutsu. (They sound scary to me.  Don't mess with them.)




    This book is a children's adventure/thriller with a great surprise ending!  A ninja goes on a very suspenseful mission...lights out...no one awake....all quiet...into his kitchen!




    The book is full of wonderful verbs and gentle, quiet action words that perfectly describe the stealth, agility and intrigue that covers this mission (not an impossible mission, but one that is totally doable).  The fabulous textured pictures were created from cut paper, cloth, string and coloured pencil.  Words like ,"clambering, climbing, balancing and leaping," lead the little ninja to his intended destination.  He deftly prepares to complete his task when, "Suddenly the lights flash on."  Oh, oh danger!  A large, imposing, looming silhouette has materialized, hand-on-hip, (toes probably tapping) and low and behold there is his mother watching and catching him in this willful act of  night - sneaking.   With his spoon in hand he was just ready to delve into his favourite treat when his mission was suddenly aborted and compromised.  Sensei Mom immediately takes charge and orders him back to bed, pronto. 




    This book is entertaining, funny and sparks the imagination.  It is a perfect choice for a bedtime story giving your little one the possibility of adventurous dreams upon its completion.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2014

    K picked this book up at his school library. So I read this at b

    K picked this book up at his school library.
    So I read this at bedtime and I thought okay Nighttime ninja what could it be about.
     But I was kind of disappointed. When we start out you are seeing a ninja what looks like to be climbing a wall, but at the end you realize the ninja is a boy who was going after something he wanted when everyone was a sleep. So I was a bit like umm okay? I think it would have been better if we saw him sneak out of his room, roll past his parent's bedroom door, creep down the stairs. You know that kind of thing. K seemed to enjoy the book especially the ending where the boy gets his surprise. The illustrations were different than I expected not the best, but they were decent. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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