Every family needs that special play time that just brings the whole family together as a team. For some families it’s a game like football, baseball or soccer. For the family in the Ninja! books by Arree Chung, it’s pretending to be NINJAS!
I strongly recommend reading these books together because the two stories, combined, illustrate the Ninja bond within the family illustrated.
Ninja! is about Max, a young boy, playing pretend-ninja and causing trouble throughout the house. He wakes up his dad, steals his sister’s cookie and causes her to accidentally fall on her bottom (it was not intentional), which earns the little ninja some punishment time.
Oddly enough, according to the children in my life, the punishment is one of the funniest parts of the book – and it consists of nothing more than a picture of mom’s arm pointing and the little ninja leaving the kitchen, clearly downtrodden, with the words:
I have been shamed.
As mentioned in previous posts, I tend to use children’s books as an opportunity to indulge in a little reader’s theater. In this case, I point to the hand with an ‘uh-oh,’ which is usually echoed by the children because ALL children know what the silent point means. Then I read the words “I have been shamed” in a very dramatic ‘shamed’ voice.
Then the story takes a turn for the better as the little ninja makes amends with his little sister by giving her a costume and saying:
Baby sister, let me teach you the way of the ninja.
And they are off…
Ninja! Attack of the Clan
Attack of the Clan features Max playing pretend-ninja alone but, this time, he doesn’t want to play alone – he wants someone to play with him. He trying to entice his sister, mother and father, but each one is fully absorbed in another task.
a misunderstanding between father and son leads Max to believe his father has agreed to play hide-and-seek when his father hasn’t even heard what Max was saying. End result? Max confronts his father, realizes the error, and returns to his room with hurt feelings.
This is a scenario most children fully understand.
Then, things change.
Maxwell, time for dinner!
So, Max heads downstairs, looking for the family, and finds dinner on the table but no one around – except the dog who is lapping up the soup. BUT, what Max does not know, but the reader DOES know, is that his entire family has bot on their ninja costumes and taken hiding places all over the dining room.
The entire family jumps out and an epic pretend-battle ensues. First Max takes down dad by poking him in the belly button and tying him up with a jump-rope.
Then he give his mom a kiss and shouts:
The Kiss of Death!
Finally, it’s little sister’s turn.
The little ninja is elusive. She is small but powerful.
Little sister hides from Max long enough to jump on his back and lick his face.
I’ve been licked.
I love my ninja clan!
Between the drawings and the text,the readers theater opportunities are wonderful!
Giggles, giggles and more giggle!
The best part? The family is clearly having a wonderful time playing pretend and bonding through play.