NONFICTION

So You Want To Be a Ninja?

Thames & Hudson. (So You Want To Be a...). Jul. 2020. 96p. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9780500652107.
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Gr 1-5–Friends Eddie, Kate, and Angus travel back in time to 1789 Japan to study under historic ninja masters and hone their own ninja skills. This informative book is part time travel adventure and part ninja training manual. Readers learn where ninjas lived, how they worked, who their enemies were, how they fought, and more. The engaging text uses quizzes, pro and con lists, and endless humorous asides. Akiyama’s cartoon-style illustrations add movement and excitement to the narrative and allow the characters and their three illustrious ninja instructors (Grand Master, Hanzo, and Chiyo) to interact with one another and the text. Concise chapters offer a wealth of information. The changing design and format of each chapter help each section feel fresh and interesting. Some are illustrated with accompanying text boxes; others take more innovative forms. The “Know Your Enemies” chapter uses WANTED posters for each enemy of the ninja. The text is inspired by the book Ninja: The (Unofficial) Secret Manual by Stephen Turnbull. A map of Japan, an index, and a glossary are included.
VERDICT Hand this excellent ninja primer to fans of “Science Comics” or Nathan Hale’s “Hazardous Tales.”

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