Review by Booklist Review
What does it mean when a baby karate chops the doctor delivering her? Looks like these parents have a ninja baby on their hands. Humorous vignettes show the couple's attempts to navigate their little girl's exercises in stealth (secret snacks!), escape (no crib can hold her), and hand-to-hand combat (behold, the diaper-changing challenge). Her skills are put to the test, however, when her parents come home with a kung fu master, aka a baby brother. Though she has always been an independent child, Nina is struck by a new feeling of loneliness as her parents dote on the new baby. After a small tantrum, the ninja learns a few of the master's tricks, and soon he is picking up ninja tips from big sister, and they form a formidable duo. Goode's pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations have a cartoon quality that fits the silliness of the story, though sensitive parents may object to the throwing-star mobile above the crib, or Nina hiding underwater during bath time (though she is using a snorkel). An over-the-top take on getting a new sibling.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2015 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
"When Nina was born, the doctor gently thumped her bottom to make sure she was breathing. Nina karate chopped her right back," writes Zeltser (Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age) in the opening of his first picture book. What follows is a funny and pitch-perfect story about independence (and its flipside, loneliness), girl power, and sibling rivalry. Nina, a wide-eyed redhead, continues to exhibit impressive ninjalike qualities as she grows: she turns diaper changes into "hand-to-hand combat" and "obliterate[s] her applesauce" with an impressive flying kick. But when a second baby arrives, Nina is flummoxed: how is this "Kung Fu Master" able to manipulate her parents through sheer adorableness? Goode, whose balletic lines and zephyrlike washes of color harken back to her wonderful work in Founding Mothers and other titles, both amplifies the literate, wry text and applies her own visual humor (look at all those swaddling blankets littering the delivery room floor-more of Nina's post-natal handiwork). A surprise ending proves that these apples don't fall far from the tree. Ages 3-5. Author's agent: Catherine Drayton, Inkwell Management. Illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 2-Born a ninja, Nina exerts her power from the start by karate chopping the doctor. Soft but detailed pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations play up the tongue-in-cheek text on every page, as independent Nina takes control of each situation: "At bedtime, she climbed her crib walls like smoke and vanished. And changing time was hand-to-hand combat. Nina did not like to be helped." This charming setup serves to launch readers and listeners ruthlessly into the story's real drama-Nina gets a sibling. He is a "Kung Fu Master," and here she meets her match. Where Nina has fought for independence, she observes that he seems to be fighting for everyone's attention and winning it. Lonely and very frustrated, she decides to approach the interloper directly, and ultimately the ninja and the Kung Fu Master join forces. One might worry for the parents of such a duo, but in an amusing twist, the last spread alleviates any concern. Clean design with ample white space to showcase the pictures' funny details pairs well with the punchy text, making a nice package for sharing aloud. VERDICT This spirited and stealthy new sibling story is one in which young readers can enjoy the exaggerated premise while their grown-ups can possibly glean some comfort.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
'Congratulations,' said the doctor...'You have a ninja baby.'" Baby Nina's ninja-like antics included escaping from her crib and side-kicking her applesauce. And when Mom and Dad bring home a newborn "Kung Fu Master," Nina's jealousy knows no bounds. Zeltser's matter-of-fact text and Goode's kicky, over-the-top pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations combine for a lively sibling-rivalry tale complete with an entertaining twist ending. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Ninjas have appeared recently in day cares as well as dojos, but how does a toddler ninja react when she meets the ultimate Kung Fu Master? Nina was born a ninja, a fact apparent when she karate-chops the doctor who gives her bottom a gentle, welcoming thump. In no time she's mastered the arts of the sneak attack (purloining doughnuts), vanishing (scaling the mobile above her crib), and hand-to-hand combat (diaper changesneed we say more?). All is more or less well until time goes by, and another ninja baby enters the home. Nina notes that the baby is clearly a Master by the way he disarms his captors and makes them carry him everywhere. After a quick tantrum, Nina realizes that she has a thing or two to learn from her equal in the ninja arts. Parents will naturally understand Zeltser's wry metaphor, but the book is also an original take on the ways in which children may cope with new baby siblings (in this case, emulating their siblings' more cuddly aspects). All the while, Goode's sublime ink-and-watercolor drawings keep the violence in check and render even the most malicious tantrum nothing short of a magnificent exercise in technique. The image of Nina and the baby standing together, fists up for combat, is both hysterical and adorable. Stalking undetected into your heart, this book effectively feeds the ninja need. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.