cover image Jack B. Ninja

Jack B. Ninja

Tim McCanna, illus. by Stephen Savage. Orchard, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-91728-5

Bold, dramatic compositions give this story’s digital illustrations the visual impact of traffic signals. Spinning a familiar nursery rhyme, the verse introduces the young ninja in action: “Jack, jump over the bamboo stick!” He’s a black-clad, doll-like figure with a perfectly round head, and the cherry blossoms and a red torii arch behind him place the action in Japan. “Secret mission starts tonight./ Hide in shadow, out of sight.” Against the setting sun, Jack appears from behind a ridge, checking for danger. McCanna’s (Barnyard Boogie) rhyming stanzas gallop along: “Jack B. Ninja, bold and brave,/ breaks into a bandit cave./ Tiptoes, searching through the dark./ Makes no sound and leaves no mark.” It’s not clear at first what he’s going after as he dives underwater and enters a cave; then, he emerges with a treasure chest. A thrilling rescue takes place, and the unexpected contents of the chest are revealed. This fast-moving readaloud adventure is just right for a quiet break between ninja practice sessions. Ages 4–8.[em] Author’s agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (June) [/em]