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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ninja Baby, by David Zeltser and illustrated by Diane Goode. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2015. $22.50 ages 4 and up

"Whenever Mom tried to
feed her, Nina had already
launched a sneak attack.
At bedtime, she climbed
her crib walls like smoke
and vanished.
And changing time was a
hand-to-hand combat.
Nina did not like to be

Nina is a ninja through and through, as evidenced when she gives her doctor a karate chop for assuring that Nina is breathing with a bum thump at birth. It is an auspicious beginning for one determined little girl. She manages to show her skills from an early age, all with as little assistance as is possible. My, she is stealthy!

The house is very happy, in Nina's estimation. That makes life good until the entrance of a Kung Fu Master! When  the new baby arrives, all things change. Nina watches with increasing concern. He does all things adorable, in direct contrast to his big sister.

"The Master could disarm his
captors with a single look.

He could force any opponent
to carry him.

The Master never did anything by himself.
Yet he won round after round after round."

No matter what she does to draw attention, no one notices. Baffled, she seeks advice from the Master.
Together, they share their personal secrets. It the dawning of a new day for everyone ... or is it?

The ink and watercolor art created by Diane Goode is outstanding! She is able to give perfect life to Nina, before and after the arrival of the Master. I have a special place in my heart for the spread that shows changing time and the 'hand-to-hand combat' it entails, since it is replicated on a daily basis by my granddaughter and her patient and persistent dad.

Cheerful and clever, this book is sure to strike a chord with siblings and their parents ... and for those of us lucky enough to share it!                                                                          

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