Nature’s Ninja: Animals with Spectacular Skills

Millbrook. Oct. 2019. 48p. bibliog. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. Tr $31.99. ISBN 9781541542419.
Gr 4-9–Animals are compared to Japan’s medieval ninja warriors in this picture book for older readers. Nine chapters follow an introduction offering background information on the practiced arts of the ninja. Each chapter features an animal with natural abilities closely aligned to a particular ninja skill and begins with the skill highlighted in a stylized text box—“CHOHO: Spying—infiltrating an enemy’s camp or society without being discovered.” Rove beetles have the natural ability of a choho master. Amazingly, they look, smell, and even behave like army ants, living among the well-known predators. They’ve even been seen eating army ant larvae! Geckos and sailfish are among the other featured creatures. In addition to a description of the animal’s ninja-like skill, there is a section on each creature titled “The Science Behind the Story.” Photographs and scientific graphics illustrate each comparison. Back matter is comprehensive and includes a glossary, index, and “Meet the Scientists.”
VERDICT  Both the premise and execution of this title are intriguing. Steer older students toward this book; they will not be disappointed.

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