cover image The Three Ninja Pigs

The Three Ninja Pigs

Corey Rosen Schwartz, illus. by Dan Santat. Putnam, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-25514-4

For young martial arts fans seeking a lighthearted book about their hobby, Schwartz’s (Hop! Plop!) story should fit the bill. While the idea of three gi-clad pigs fighting the big bad wolf is a winner, the subtle-as-a-karate-chop moral about not quitting puts a bit of a damper on the fun. Pig One signs up for aikido (“He gained some new skills,/ but got bored with the drills”), while Pig Two goes for jujitsu (“The teacher said, ‘Excellent progress./ But Pig-san, you must study more.’/ Pig Two said, ‘No way./ Sayonara, Sensei!/ I’m ready to settle a score’ ”). Both lack the necessary chops when the wolf comes a’blowing. Santat’s dynamic, comic book–style spreads have a Crouching Wolf, Hidden Pig feel, especially when Pig Three (a persistent girl who has actually honed her skills) terrifies the wolf with a chop that smashes a pile of bricks. Schwartz’s irreverent verse never falters—and any book that rhymes “dojo” with “mojo” is one that’s worth a look. Ages 5–8. Agent: Kendra Marcus, BookStop Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Sept.)