North Pole Ninjas, Mission:Christmas! – Tyler Knott Gregson and Sarah Linden, art by Piper Thibodeau

51vn3jqirpl North Pole Ninjas:Mission:Christmas! – Tyler Knott Gregson and Sarah Linden, art by Piper Thibodeau, Grosset & Dunlap, (9780399539442), 2016

Format: Hardcover with toy

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review)  3

Genre:   Picture Book

What did you like about the book?  This is a holiday book that intends to inspire children to do good deeds for Santa by becoming a North Pole Ninja.  In rhyming verse we learn that Santa has a team of elf-like ninjas who are led by a wise old sensei and work to spread Christmas cheer through their deeds. Readers are invited to join the ranks and are given the mission to spread random acts of kindness.  The book includes an envelope of 50 cards, each of which contains a good deed suggestion to accomplish.  These include “Bring a bag of groceries to your local food bank to share food with those in need” or “Do something super secret and super nice for your parents. Watch their smiles and know that you made them.”  The use of light is appealing in the computer generated art and fits well with the night-time ninja theme. The book comes with a little stuffed version of the sensei which would make a cute holiday decoration.   The idea is much more action oriented than the Elf On the Shelf.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  The rhymes can be forced and the text does not flow well at times: “There are elves who make the toys, and those who feed the deer, some who sprinkle cookies, one in the sleigh to steer.”  The envelope of cards will not stand up to library usage.  

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is one for children who enjoy ninjas as well as Christmas.  It would be a nice gift to inspire children to help others during the holiday season and beyond.  

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Holiday Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review: 1/3/17         

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