Nina the Neighborhood Ninja
There are not enough books about girls or ninja girls or superhero girls so when Sonia Panigrahy contacted me about reviewing her new book, Nina the Neighborhood Ninja (published November 2016), I jumped at the opportunity. Nina, the main character, is all about getting the job done. She is confronted with several situations in which she can help one of her neighbor animals or she can walk away. Just like any good superhero, she always falls on the side of helping out. I love that Nina is spirited and not afraid of getting dirty, which we see throughout in the illustrations as well.
Having said all that, my big qualm with the book is that Nina is NOT a ninja. She's a superhero. Not that ninjas can't be superheros, but I was waiting for some 'ninja' moves. They don't happen, not specifically at least, unless you count being a ninja as being 'smart' and 'speedy' and 'strong'. I know there is always leeway given for the illustrator to interpret the story as well, and that may have been the case here. Or, there may have been too much of a want for the alliteration to happen (Nina the Neighborhood Ninja with her sidekick Fiona the Firefly). I forgive that part of the book, however, as the illustrations by Hazel Quintanilla are cute and engaging, with my favorite part being the unraveling of Nina's hair as the day progresses. Nina the Neighborhood Ninja is definitely a book with a lot of heart and a can-do attitude.
Little Lion Bookworm Review: I liked how the little chickie that she saves is so cute. I like that there was a whole family of turtles. And I like that they celebrated with s'mores at the end. And that it says that YOU have superpowers at the end. (Please note that LL is picture above with a little bird, a cat, and a turtle PLUS her own cape. Posted with permission.)
Rating: Little Lion says 'Buy It!'
Ages: Non-fidgeting preschoolers on up. (Three and up)
As an aside, Nina the Neighborhood Ninja belongs right up there with Miranda Paul's clever Ten Little Ninjas. Inspired by the cover of Ten Little Ninjas, I'm working on an early chapter book that happens to be about a set of sister ninjas. It originally started as a picture book, until I realized that I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Hopefully I'll find the time and inspiration to work on it soon. Because, ninja girls are important, and there is nowhere near enough of them in children's literature. :D