10 Little Ninjas

illus. by Nate Wragg. 32p. Knopf. Aug. 2016. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780553534979.
PreS-Gr 1—It's that time of night when parents have tucked their children into bed, but instead of drifting off to sleep, the little ones are raring to go. In this retelling of the classic nursery rhyme, instead of monkeys jumping on the bed and bumping their heads, 10 children have a series of imaginative adventures. It begins: "10 little ninjas sneaking out of bed—/one jumped off and/bumped her head./Daddy called the sensei/and the sensei said,/'No more ninjas/sneaking out of bed!' " The kids pretend they are astronauts, race car drivers, pirates, prowling tigers, and dragons. With each adventure, one child has a minor catastrophe—from getting the traditional bump on the head to thwacking the wall—and winds up heading off to bed. The mom and dad work together to corral and discipline their children, but it is the father who calls for help and the mom who lays down the law. As with the original nursery rhyme, children will enjoy reciting the catchy rhymes aloud once they become familiar with the story ("6 rowdy cowboys lassoing the rails—/one loop swooped and,/whoops!, it failed./Daddy called the sheriff/and the sheriff wailed,/'No more cowboys lassoing the rails!'") and counting down as the story progresses. The illustrations are two-dimensional and colorful, with the dominant color palette for each spread changing depending upon the setting.
VERDICT A fun read-aloud for bedtime, storytimes, and small group reads.

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