Thursday, September 29, 2016

­čîčREVIEW: "The Boy Who Cried Ninja" by Alex Latimer (Childrens Fiction, Picture Book)

The Boy Who Cried Ninja
by Alex Latimer

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Genre: Childrens Fiction, Picture Book
Publication Date: April 1st 2011

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Description from Publisher:
In this quirky twist on The Boy Who Cried Wolf, a boys excuses turn out to have an unexpected element of truth.
My Rating:
My Musings:
I picked this up at my local library, assuming it was a cute retelling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf and liking the art style.

Unfortunately, I wasn't sure how I felt about the story after I read it, and, after trying to put my finger on exactly why I was conflicted, I have realized that I don't care for the story at all.

Tim is a boy who has seen some extraordinary things happen, but his parents don't believe him. They assume that he is lying when he says a ninja came and ate all the cake, or an astronaut has the hammer. So they punish him by making him rake leaves and demand that he "think about what [he's] done." I detest that "think about what you've done" type of language towards kids, as I feel that it's very patronizing.

I digress.

Tim then decides that he should start lying and starts to tell his parents that he's doing these "bad things," despite the fact that he isn't. He then gets punished with yard work and "think about what you've done." So he decides to invite the ninja, astronaut, pirate, etc. over to his house. His parents "say they're sorry" and tell him they will get him 100 ice cream cones. Then, they punish the ninja, etc. with yard work and a "think about what you've done." It ends with everyone having a party and not misbehaving, having ice cream.

What exactly is the moral of the story here?! From what I can tell, it's something like how important it is to punish the right people? Or that your parents will punish you no matter what unless you can prove your innocence, in which case they will buy you ice cream...

The real life version of this seems like this:
- Sibling breaks vase, you get punished because your parents don't believe you.
- Sibling scribbles on the wall, you say you did it and get punished.
- So you leave something breakable and some markers out for your sibling to get into it, wait until (s)he does, then call your parents in. - Parents say "Oh, sorry. We'll buy you something." (Not "I'm so sorry, we'll believe you next time!")
- Parents punish sibling.
- Parents buy you and sibling something.

It's a shame, because I still really like the illustrations and art style of this! But, alas, it isn't one that I want to read my son.

That said, if you're just looking for a silly book and plan on downplaying any type of message or moral to the story, this would be a great book for you.

My Source: I checked this out of my local library.

About Alex Latimer
Alex Latimer lives near the border of a national park so when not writing or drawing, he spends his free time shooing baboons out of his lounge. The Boy Who Cried Ninja is his first book for children. He lives in South Africa.
GoodReads Website Amazon

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