Hello, friends! Our book today is Ten Clever Ninjas, written by Sarah Floyd and illustrated by Marcin Bruchnalski, a playful counting book that follows the friendship of ten young martial artists.
One clever ninja wakes up in his room, finding a note from his mom to him and his brother, asking for some quiet time in the house to finish a project. She suggests that her “clever little ninjas” think of fun things to do outside today, and so the two ninjas set off, gathering more of their ninja clan one-by-one as they go. They pick up friends from their homes or meet them out and about, practicing their skills in stealth, evasion, engineering, meditation, and of course, ninjitsu. At last, numbering ten, they head back to the boys’ home, where two surprises await: cupcakes for everyone, plus the result their mom’s top-secret project…
Delightful! Jumping off from an enjoyable take on a counting book, subtle details in the text and art give this story a welcome sense of inclusion. Floyd’s cast of ninjas are a racially-, ability-, and gender-diverse bunch, and their ninja activities are not limited to fighting. They build clubhouses, meditate and quietly enjoy nature together, as well as take time to nurture the brothers’ young toddler sibling. Bruchnalski’s clean yet rich illustrations are filled with a sense of childhood enthusiasm and joy that fit the tone perfectly. There’s a head-scratching moment when one of the ninjas greets to others with “Namaste,” a traditional Sanskrit word, but based on the character’s design, this may be a reflection of her culture as opposed to her “ninja” status. Regardless, the length was great, and JJ and I really enjoyed this one. Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)