The Master and the students from Dojo Daycare (2014) and Dojo Daytrip (2015) return for their third adventure.
Master, enjoying a snooze, wakes to strange noises and screams, “AAAH!”—over and over again, as the noises keep coming. Observant readers will, of course, see the reasons for the noises. The young students (a racially diverse bunch judging by swatches of skin and tufts of hair protruding from their ninja masks) are staging a surprise birthday party complete with hats, cake, and noisemakers. Told in rhyming verse, the story is amusing and pleasurable to read aloud. Children will enjoy seeing Master, the dojo's nominal adult, so very thrown by the secretive antics of his charges. Flat, digital figures cavort against white backdrops, brightly colored party paraphernalia and toys contrasting with the ninjas' black suits (even the Master's teddy bear sports one). The Master’s face is solid yellow and features a drooping, mouth-framing mustache that may bring Fu Manchu to mind; this visual association with an old racial stereotype is an unfortunate one.
Look elsewhere for ninja fun—perhaps to Arree Chung’s Ninja and its sequel, Ninja! Attack of the Clan (2014, 2016). (Picture book. 3-6)