nighttime ninja

Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta, illustrated by Ed Young

A ninja moved stealthily through the night in this picture book.  The clock struck midnight and the ninja tossed a grapple hook up.  He climbed up the sheer wall.  He crept down the hallway of the house where everyone was asleep.  He hid in the shadows.  Then he got out his tools and went to work.  Until his mother woke up!

DaCosta’s simple text slowly builds the tension as the ninja moves through the night.  The entire book is hushed and the mood brittle with stealth.  She playfully leads the reader through thinking that this is a real ninja sneaking into a house until the reveal.  It’s a great reveal that works particularly well thanks to Young’s illustrations. 

His collage art shows a shadowed ninja figure using expert skill and stealth.  At the same time, that cover clues us into the jolly nature of this book.  Young’s art is as beautiful as always, using subtle colors to evoke the world of the ninja and the darkness of night.  They have the sharp angles of Japanese architecture built into each page too, immediately conjuring another land.

Get ready to have your own little ninja prowling your house after you share this book.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.