Ninja Boy Goes to School


Bestselling author N. D. Wilson makes his picture-book debut—and proves that even a ninja can get sent to the principal’s office!
From N. D. Wilson, bestselling author of the 100 Cupboards series, comes this funny and adventurous picture-book debut. It’s time for kindergarten, and a young boy is prepared for the task, thanks to his unflinching ninja skills. The challenges of school are no match for a ninja, with his quick reflexes and ...
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Bestselling author N. D. Wilson makes his picture-book debut—and proves that even a ninja can get sent to the principal’s office!
From N. D. Wilson, bestselling author of the 100 Cupboards series, comes this funny and adventurous picture-book debut. It’s time for kindergarten, and a young boy is prepared for the task, thanks to his unflinching ninja skills. The challenges of school are no match for a ninja, with his quick reflexes and immense patience. Featuring colorful and dynamic illustrations by J. J. Harrison, Ninja Boy Goes to School will have all little ninjas eager to learn how to balance like flamingos and gain the strength of gorillas (but without having to smell like one). Perfect for energetic free-spirits of all ages!

"Vibrant, cartoonish illustrations . . ." - Booklist

"Lots of fun details and BAM! POW! kid-appeal." - School Library Journal

"Any kid who’s longed for a break in the school day to work out some energy and frustration will cheer Ninja Boy’s mission . . ." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The author of the 100 Cupboards series explores the perils of being a ninja at school. Dressed in black, with a blue headband, orange sneakers, and a tiger backpack, Ninja Boy stealthily conceals himself on the school bus ceiling and escapes his classroom through the window (“A ninja’s spirit is never caged. A ninja leaps like a gazelle and floats like a cherry blossom”), earning him a visit to the principal’s office and punishment from his none-too-happy parents. Harrison’s smudgy cartoons feature gap-toothed, chubby-cheeked kids and comically pugnacious adults. This one’s for the troublemakers. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Aaron Rench, Leaptide Literary Group. (July)
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
The idea of ninja play is fun. Who wouldn’t want to engage in stealthy adventures and demonstrate abilities of silence, nimbleness, strength, balance, and determination? Here, though, we see the downside. “It is hard being a ninja,” the book begins. We see Ninja Boy prowl through his house to find and liberate a box of “Ninja Stuff” from the top of a bookshelf before heading out to the bus stop. There, the other kids laugh at his ninja garb and pose. Once at school, he sneaks out of the classroom for some solo tetherball action, but his teacher finds him and sends him to the principal. His displeased parents put his ninja gear on top of the bookshelf and send him to his room, but this clearly is not the end. There is no lesson learned here, no “a time and a place for everything.” Rather, the book is a completely unrepentant celebration of a boy who has one idea in his mind and is going to stick to it no matter what the consequence. There is no doubt this determined child will be climbing the bookshelf to retrieve his ninja stuff again in the morning. This is the first picture book from the author of the 100 Cupboards and “The Ashtown Burials” series for young adults. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green; Ages 4 to 8.
Kirkus Reviews
A young ninja shows off some skills for school.Ninjas are good at silently rising before the sun. They are nimble and strong, with the balance of a flamingo "(but without looking silly)"—though the illustration belies this, as all the kids at the bus stop are laughing. They can be "one with their surroundings." This last pictures the boy, in ninja black, plastered to the ceiling of the bus. Light on plot, but so far, so good. But then Wilson's ninja takes a disturbing turn. "A ninja must be still and patient, like a deep-rooted tree…." On the left, Harrison's vibrantly colored illustration shows the ninja sitting primly in class. But on the right, the text reads, "…and strike with the VIPER'S speed when the time is right for disappearing." The ninja is now sneaking out the classroom window while the teacher's back is turned. The verso reveals "A ninja's spirit is never caged." Freedom is not long-lived, as the teacher catches up to the ninja on the playground, and the principal sends him home, with seriously angry looks all around. His parents put away his ninja things, but regardless, the boy knows he is a ninja, as his shadow proudly reflects. Other poor examples include the precarious stack he climbs to reach the "ninja stuf" and the gray-haired granny bus driver sporting earbuds.A book for those who see school as a prison to be escaped; this is about as strongly anti-school as a picture book gets. (Picture book. 5-7)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—A ninja must be silent as a ghost, as nimble as a mountain goat, as strong as a gorilla, and have the patience of a "deep-rooted tree." As the necessary qualifications are listed, the pictures show a child dressed as a ninja going through the motions while his amused classmates look on. When he becomes bored in math class, he must choose the right time to disappear by jumping out the window. And he must pay the consequences when his teacher finds him playing tetherball during class. "Ninjas must never give up. Even when facing a strong enemy" shows his stern teacher sending him to the principal's office. He must face the man, but "A ninja knows when to be silent." His angry father takes him home and sends him to his room. "It is hard being a ninja." The comic book-style illustrations have lots of fun details and BAM! POW! kid-appeal. The text is a minefield of similes and metaphors—a great way to introduce the terms to young grammarians.—Mary Hazelton, formerly at Warren & Waldoboro Elementary Schools, ME
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375865848
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 7/8/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 115,358
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD610L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

N. D. WILSON lives in Idaho with his wife and their five young explorers. For more information, please visit:

JJ HARRISON has worked on various projects for Marvel and Cartoon Network. He lives in Utah with his wife, two children, and a goldfish named Jake - whom they believe is immortal. For more information, please visit:

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