Synopses & Reviews
Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal...and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission?
With spare text and lush illustrations, Nighttime Ninja is a fun, adventure-filled story about the power of play and imagination.
"DaCosta builds her debut on the scaffolding of the suspenseful adventure that turns out to be make-believe. Illustrators of stories like these sometimes hint at what's coming with comic artwork, but Young's (The House That Baba Built) collages are deadly serious as he enters fully into the boy's fantasy. His ninja, a black silhouette, breaks into a house and makes his way silently toward some unknown object: 'He crept down the twisting moonlit hallway, and knelt in the dark shadows, listening.' Suddenly, a huge mother-shaped shadow flicks the light on, and the ninja is revealed as a boy sneaking into the kitchen for ice cream. Readers will be jolted (in a good way) they've been immersed in the ninja's search, and it's tense with expectation. Artwork as fine as Young's might overshadow the story, but DaCosta crafts her spare text carefully and with humor. Her ninja language tracks the boy's actions right up to the moment he grabs a spoon. The depth of feeling Da Costa and Young give to the boy's fantasy makes this a standout. Ages 3 6. Illustrator's agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
* "Young's expressive collage artwork, built of fabric, paper, and bits of string, hums with vitality, even in the silence of midnight...Beneath these frames, debut author DaCosta's spare, sinuous prose reinforces the ninja's intrepid, surreptitious elegance...With measured pacing, careful design, and a beautifully symbiotic partnership of word and image, this enormously appealing, timeless story promises to delight preschool audiences and families alike for years to come."--Booklist (starred review)
"Succinct language full of vivid verbs describing the action sets the mood for Young's lushly textured illustrations...Good to share at bedtime with antsy adventurers."--Kirkus
"A spare text loaded with tension paired with evocative illustrations make this a bedtime story that will be asked for again and again."--The Horn Book
"Young's austere, nearly abstract mixed-media collage illustrations...perfectly complement DaCosta's spare but neatly suspenseful story."--School Library Journal
"Wonderfully mysterious...[A] pitch-perfect bedtime read."--The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Barbara DaCosta, as a child, was a precocious nighttime ninja, constantly climbing out of the crib in search of cookies and other interesting things. She has since cut back on the climbing and the cookies, but still enjoys finding the interesting things in life to write about. Nighttime Ninja
is her first children's picture book. She makes her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Ed Young is the illustrator of more than eighty books for children, including the Caldecott Medal-winning Lon Po Po, and the New York Times bestseller Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein. He has also written and illustrated The House Baba Built, which recounts his childhood in Shanghai. Born in China, Ed moved to the United States as a young man and pursued his love of art. Nighttime Ninja is the type of picture book Ed would have loved as a young boy. He currently lives in New York.