Kids love ninjas. That explains why some kids are fans of the Ninja! book series by Arree Chung. They’re picture books that ages 7 and younger will enjoy. Ninja Claus! is the third entry in the series and is heavy on pictures, action and humor, while being light on words. This is the kind of children’s book that kids will read in their head (aka: to themselves), while imagining the ninja moves and traps that young Maxwell does in trying to capture Santa.
It’s Christmas Eve and Maxwell slept through it last year. He woke up to find the cookies gone, milk drank and a hamster that Santa had left him in their place. This year is different and Maxwell has set all manner of traps throughout the living room. He even tries to sleep beside the Christmas tree in his tent before his mother sneaks up on him after he fell asleep and takes him to his bedroom.
Thankfully Maxwell’s trap makes a loud snapping sound when it captures something. Unfortunately the only thing it caught was dad, which initially disappoints Maxwell because he accuses him of stealing the cookies every year-which is false. By this time mom has also woken up and reminds everyone that it’s too late to be up and that Santa only visits once everyone is asleep.
The irony of Ninja Claus! is that there isn’t much Ninja Claus in the book. This is Maxwell’s show and all about the letter he’s written to Santa, his attempt to capture him, his pet hamster Ted and his family. There are four pages of Santa being a ninja. It’s after the family has finally gone to sleep and all of Maxwell’s traps are easily being avoided by the man in red as he drops presents all around the room.
His little sister received a hamster this year named Cassy who is sure to be good friends with Ted. The illustrations in Ninja Claus! are pretty and take up every available inch on the pages. It’s just that there isn’t much to the book. There are very few words and a story that’s too simple and needed more to it. Our kids love ninjas and they love Santa-and they surprisingly liked Ninja Claus!.
I say surprisingly because I wasn’t a fan of the book. For us, we thought it needed more Ninja or more Santa in order to hold a child’s attention for more than a couple different readings. Our initial thoughts were correct and this is a book that kids will want to read for fun. It’s not near the top of the new word scale that some parents look for, but kids sure will enjoy it.