So, as I type this on Monday evening, I’m saying goodbye to a day of having felt like I’ve operated on only one brain hemisphere. Ever just wake up like that? Yep. That was me today.
As a result, this will be short and sweet. I’m still, you see, posting about lingering 2010 titles. I suppose I’ll be done with that in about a week or so and shall move on to new 2011 titles. (I make that sound like I actually have a blog plan-of-action, when in all reality I decide the night before what I’m going to do!) But for now, I feature the return of ninja, cowboy, and bear.
Anyone else remember this 2009 title from Kids Can Press? Take a moment, if you’re so inclined, to re-read that post and take in that art again. Good stuff. Funny, too. I still love that book, written by David Bruins and illustrated digitally by Hilary Leung, for closing with the NINJA COWBOY BEAR game, not unlike “rock/paper/scissors” but involving you getting up off your keister to strike a ninja or cowboy or bear pose. Work in an office or library? I say try that game when you are experiencing a midday lull. Well, this new title, Ninja Cowboy Bear Presents: The Way of the Ninja (also by Bruins and Leung and also published by Kids Can Press), was released one year later. And that would be this past September. The second spread of this second title includes the words “merrymaking,” “buffoonery,” and “hilarity.” Those big words right off the bat made me happy. Also, let’s face it: Ninjas always make children’s literature more fun.
This title, which brings us the return of these hip, funny, lovable characters, is all about ninja learning how to play nice with his friends, ’cause it’s all fun and games, people, until someone puts a friend’s eye out with the shuriken. Kidding. No such thing happens. Instead, the ninja’s rambunctious play is a bit much for cowboy, who’d rather paint, and bear, who’d rather pick flowers. Bear and cowboy try to accommodate ninja, mind you, but only end up getting hurt. (And hurt physically, that is. What you don’t see below is that poor cowboy catapults himself off that bed and lands squarely on his head. And poor bear. Not only does he have a nasty spill, too, but suffice it to say he also offends some bees.) Deciding his friends are poor sports, the ninja goes off to make his own fun, but—you guessed it—misses his pals too much. It might get a tad bit heavy-handed towards the quickly-wrapped-up ending, but I simply love seeing these guys in another book. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. Plus, you gotta love the music for the book trailer, which I’ll include at the close of this post.
Oh, and you have to pick up a library or bookstore copy somewhere just for the back-cover illustration alone.
Here are some spreads from the book, art Kirkus described as “one part Power Puff Girls and one part Eric Carle.” Enjoy. And I’ll see you later this week when perhaps both brain hemispheres will be functional.
(Click to enlarge spread.)
(Click to enlarge spread.)
Oh, and the book trailer, as promised. The ninja on drums made me snort-laugh. Get up and dance:
Text copyright © 2010 David Bruins. Illustrations copyright © 2010 Hilary Leung. Reprinted by permission of Kids Can Press.