Day 16, book 16: Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta

Nighttime Ninja, by Barbara DaCosta, illustrated by Ed Young, is a tale of late night snacking, bedtime, and ninjas. All is quiet in the house, especially the ninja, who sneaks down the hall, inching towards his treasure. He almost makes it without getting caught. Too bad Mom is on the lookout, ready for any nighttime ninja action.

DaCosta’s text is about as spare as you can get, but it’s all about conveying movement, as the ninja creeps towards his objective. At first I wondered if the text was too simple, perhaps getting lost up against Young’s dramatic and creative style. Now that I think about it, the simplicity of the text works well to create a suspenseful, quiet atmosphere while allowing the reader to fully appreciate Young’s captivating and textured illustrations. Like a ninja, this book isn’t about frills. There’s nothing wasted, nothing superfluous in the text and the art. Read this one to squirmy little ones who insist on just one more story.

The book trailer is a total charmer, very tongue-in-cheek. To all makers of picture book trailers out there, here’s my two cents: use kids. Use their cute little voices and their natural flair for drama. This is what I’m talking about:

Nighttime Ninja is published by Little, Brown.

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