A mischievous little ninja scares Santa away and then receives an unexpected gift in the form of a huge snowball fight.
The young ninja, Yukio, wants to stage a snowball battle on Christmas Eve, but all the other ninjas are staying home and behaving so they will receive their presents from Santa. Yukio doesn’t care about presents, so he uses ninja tactics to sneak up on Santa and startle him by ringing a huge, noisy gong and rallying the other ninjas to scare away the intruder. When a mysterious samurai arrives with an army of snowmen, all the little ninjas do battle with the snowmen in an “epic snowball fight,” just as Yukio had wanted, though the samurai disappears. On Christmas morning Yukio is worried that he has ruined Christmas for all the other ninjas, but everyone gets Christmas gifts from Santa. Yukio receives a snowman’s hat and carrot nose and a letter from Samurai Santa indicating that the snowman battle was his special gift. Computer-generated illustrations use a limited palette of black, red, white, and soft gray, with the text set in a casual, modern typeface. A large format with landscape orientation provides plenty of room for the ninja-snowman battle scenes and the resolution on Christmas morning. The text never addresses the question of how these feudal Japanese assassins came to believe in Santa in the first place.
This unusual if culturally hegemonic Christmas story will appeal to kids interested in ninjas and samurais and, of course, to any kids who like an epic snowball fight. (Picture book. 4-8)