Tomorrow night, after the last slice of pie has been eaten and the turkey leftovers have been wrapped for Friday’s lunch, you might be looking for a good bedtime story to read to your children. It seems a bit early to break out the Christmas stories, but there are several new books that fit the bill perfectly. One of my favorites is Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young.
DaCosta’s story begins in a way that is sure to get a young child’s attention: “The clock struck midnight…” And right away, through the beauty of Young’s cut paper, cloth and string illustrations, the reader is transported to a house where everyone is asleep – except a young “ninja” on a mission. I won’t give away the sneaky child’s goal, but I will tell you that the end of the book is pitch perfect and contains a delightful surprise.
This is a book with few words, but the ones DaCosta uses make me think a teacher could have fun with this book, especially if the lesson involved verbs. “He crept down the twisting moonlit hallway,” she writes. And Young’s evocative illustration shows a large black shadow creeping across the double page spread. One cautionary note: if you read Nighttime Ninja to a child before they go to sleep, you may hear little steps in the hallway soon after you leave the room!
UPDATE: Barbara DaCosta very kindly told me about the Nighttime Ninja website – which includes a list of Ninja crafts! Here’s the link: http://www.nighttimeninja.blogspot.com/p/activities.html