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Monday, September 8, 2014

Dojo Daycare, wirtten and illustrated by Chris Tougas. Owlkids, 2014. $16.95 ages 4 and up

"Little ninja girls and boys
Fighting over ninja toys.
Pulling, pushing, tugging, taking,
Punching, kicking busting, breaking.

It's a full-blown ninja riot.
Master claps and calls out,

It's the final long weekend of the summer, and school starts this week. That will bring big changes for some children. Those who have been home all summer may be returning to day care as older siblings go back to school and parents return to work.

In the ninja world at Dojo Daycare, the day begins as might be expected. Warriors and their parents make their appearance from above, stealthy and wearing appropriate attire. Youngsters are 'dropped' off, shoes are removed, bows exchanged and KABOOM! KAPOW! Something is awry here. Master must find a way to contain the mischief.

A plea for quiet falls on deaf ears. Master has valuable lessons to teach:

"It's time for you to all reflect
On honor, kindness and respect."

Things settle...and then it's lunch. Oh, my! Noodle bowl firmly attached to his head, Master must once again demand quiet. It's the same at story time, although Master is looking a little undone. This time it is one of the ninjas that takes on the group, repeating the lesson about honor, kindness and respect:

"Every ninja understands.
And fists turn into helping hands
As little ninjas work as one.
Undoing all that they have done."

The audience is sure to be attracted to the tiny children wrapped in black and sporting wary, then determined eyes. Be on the lookout for the master's ninja teddy and the small details that invite particular attention. Never has a dojo been such fun!

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