On our holiday recently, my son insisted we pick up this novel for bedtime reading. He informed me that his teacher had read it to his class in prep, and it was ‘really really seriously good stuff’. Knowing that it was the first in a series, I gladly picked it up.
Ninja Kid is Nelson, a nerd (apparently?) who discovers on his 10th birthday that he is a ninja. This seems to mean that he has excellent refleshes, a sixth sense for danger, strength, and stamina. He lives with his mother, grandmother, and cousin Kenny in a junkyard. His grandma makes wacky devices and inventions, his cousin never stops eating, and his mum does the best she can to support them all on a single income. Nelson’s father, also a ninja, is missing and presumed dead.
Nelson seems incredulous about his powers, and takes a few attempts to get things right. It’s not until a field trip to a nearby forest that his fledgeling skills are tested. For some reason, the field trip is attacked by a giant spider who loves eating bug-spray. Nelson eventually wins the day by tricking the spider into running off a cliff. There’s also something about a stone with purple flecks in it, that I’m sure will come up later.
This was a very simple storyline and quick read. Written in large font and peppered with plenty of cartoon-like drawings without, it is an easy and engaging starter novel. I read it aloud to my little guy, and the chapters were short and sharp (though the giant spiders within did cause a few fearful nights!).
My son gives it a hearty 5 GIANT SPIDERS OUT OF 5; but as the one actually reading it, I’d give it more of a 3. Compared to our other adventures in bedtime reading, such as the How To Train Your Dragon series, it lacked the pacing and plot… But I’ll stick with the rating awarded by its target audience!