My son picked up Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed (ages 4-10) by J. C. Phillipps at the library. Wink, the title character, is elated when he is accepted at Summer Moon School for Young Ninjas. Master Zutsu teaches the students the serious arts of stealth and invisibility. Wink wants to be seen and heard though. As a result of his antics, he is sent home early each day.
When Wink arrives at home, his grandmother greets him. She notices how downtrodden he is because he is not fitting into the mold of the school. His grandmother urges him to seek solace in the entertaining acrobats at the circus. She wants him to laugh and to enjoy life.
Wink loves being a ninja, but he does not fit in. Then, he comes across a family from the circus practicing their tricks. Wink is an instant sensation! Inspired by their applause and recognition, he continues to practice daring, entertaining moves.
One day, Master Zutsu and Wink's grandmother receive a special ticket in the mail to the Lucky Dragon Circus. When they arrive, Wink is introduced as "The Nimble Ninja." His act is a combination of the two things he loves: being a ninja and being a performer.
I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of this story. This book captures the essence of being an individual. Wink has two influences and two passions in his life that at first appear incongruent. He finds a way to incorporate both in a way that brings him fulfillment and makes his mentors proud.
The illustrations are noteworthy. The ninjas are dressed in black with only their eyes showing. The setting and other characters are embellished as collage pictures using bold colors , Asian prints, and bamboo accents. The three-dimensional look adds energy and excitement to the action.
Boys in particular will find this picture book enticing because of the Ninjas on the cover. The wonderful story gives it a more wide-spread appeal.