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Nighttime Ninja

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  1,274 Ratings  ·  214 Reviews
Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal...and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission?
With spare text and lush illustrations, Nighttime Ninja is a fun, adventure-filled story about the power of play and imagination.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Little, Brown (first published September 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 04, 2013 Amy rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-book, cln
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Miss Ryoko
Feb 21, 2014 Miss Ryoko rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Actual rating: 2.5

Barbara DaCosta lives near me so I really want to give her a shining review, however the book didn't meet my expectations. I can't really say what I was expecting, but it wasn't this. However, I can totally relate to the nighttime ninja... when I was little my mom says I used to wake up in the middle of the night and eat all the cheese in the fridge! Haha!

The book is alright. The illustrations are creative and different and the story is cute. My expectations were just a little
Dec 04, 2012 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: preschool, night, ninjas
Cute papercut illustrations -- very minimal text (would be a short one for story time, there's a lot of wordless pages), but would be a cute short book for a story time interlude. I'm glad there's more ninja books being published -- I have some small patrons who have read EVERY ninja picture book a thousand times, so it's good to see a new one.
Feb 12, 2016 Meghan rated it liked it
Cute, and VERY short. Will probably use for pajama storytime, especially since it ties into bedtime and sleep. It will make a good last story of the night.
Jun 13, 2013 Betsy rated it really liked it
Nearly wordless, this is a fun read aloud. The illustrations are marvelous and tell most of the story.
Dec 30, 2016 Meredith rated it liked it
intricate illustrations. I liked that they were done by cut paper rather than just drawing. The story was very short and simple
Kalee Stegehuis
May 31, 2014 Kalee Stegehuis rated it it was amazing
This review first published at

I LOVED this book! I can be a critical reader, but this one had me completely engaged. I spent a few minutes on each page because I thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations and the suspense of the story. It doesn’t contain many words, but it’s still a book you can spend a while reading to kids because the illustration is so mystifying.

My favorite aspect of this book is the relationship between the visual and verbal narratives. Th
Luke Magsino
Sep 13, 2016 Luke Magsino rated it really liked it
Nighttime Ninja by Babara DaCosta Art by Ed Young is about a ninja who went on a mission in the middle of the night. The book is about a kid who got outside and started his mission and perform like a ninja. He had a mission to do. He went inside a house. I like the book because it had a lot of parts that is scaring because you think he will get caught. I recommend it to people who like mysterious book because it is a book that has a different mysterious story from other stories.
M.M. Hudson
Apr 16, 2016 M.M. Hudson rated it liked it
NOTE: I gave this a 3 on Amazon which denotes the book being just ok. Goodreads would give it a 2. So please note any discrepancy.
The title of this book caught my attention which is why I purchased it without really looking through it. I usually at least do a quick flip. If I had done so, I would have known this is essentially a picture book with very few words. The book is targeted for kids 4-7 but in truth, I think it is more 2-5 and only that high in age because an emerging reader cou
Aug 06, 2013 Marilyn rated it really liked it
What is a ninja anyway? The dictionary states: (Japanese) a member of the ninja who were trained in martial arts and hired for espionage, sabotage or assassinations; a person skilled in Ninjutsu. (They sound scary to me. Don't mess with them.)

This book is a children's adventure/thriller with a great surprise ending! A ninja goes on a very suspenseful mission...lights one awake....all quiet...into his kitchen!

The book is full of wonderful verbs and gentle, quiet action words that perfect
Sep 14, 2016 Christian rated it it was amazing
this book is called nighttime ninja by darbare dacosta and it fun to read this book because there
Amy Forrester
Dec 04, 2012 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing
In the dark of the night the ninja creeps and climbs, crawls and leaps through the house. Everyone is asleep as he slips from shadow to shadow. As he takes up his tools to work, the lights flash on and his mother appears! Even though the ninja protests that he hasn’t finished his (ice cream eating) mission, his mother has another idea, “Well, how about a getting-back-into-bed mission?”

The sparse text has a suspenseful feeling and readers will think they are reading a story about a real ninja rig
Annette Ruane
Dec 03, 2013 Annette Ruane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I like the lay out of this book, the style of this book, and the illustrations of this book better then I like the actual story of this book. The cover of this book is intriguing with just the ninja eyes poking out of the dark. I liked how I had to turn the book vertical a few times to read it and see the full picture, I think this is engaging to the reader and allows them to not get bored while reading. I loved how the texture of the pages switched back and forth between glossy and matt. I beli ...more
Kathryn (Nine Pages)
The text itself is sparse and is somewhat eclipsed. The mixed-media illustrations in this book are true stars, quickly capturing the attention with a thrilling adventure. Perhaps the merest bit too cluttered, they illustrate the protagonist as a sleek ninja all in black, who scales walls with grappling hooks and creeps into compounds. The story seems to pick up mid-adventure, an unusual and refreshing beginning to a picture book, where the concept of "once upon a time" seems to more firmly hold ...more
Feb 14, 2016 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I enjoyed reading this book and discussing the topic of waking up at night with other readers. It resonates with me when the mom tells the child to refocus onto a 'get-into-bed-mission'. I was drawn into the story instantly on the first page showing a masked face in the dark. My transaction with the text was most powerful when it was written the lights flashed on suddenly. I will carry with me from this experience a better understanding of what it is like for other moms to find their children ou ...more
Jessica Gilligan
Oct 02, 2014 Jessica Gilligan rated it it was ok
Shelves: libs-642
DaCosta; Young. (2012). Nighttime Ninja. Little, Brown and Company: New York.

Picture Book: Choice

2013 ALA Notable Children's Book; Reviewed in Publisher's Weekly

This book is about a little boy who pretends he is a ninja and is stealthily moving about the house after bedtime in search of the prize-ice cream. The artwork is a rich tapestry using cut paper, textured cloth, string and color pencil as the media. The text is really simple, with only a sentence or sentence fragment per page. I think it
Kianna Buckner
Nov 19, 2014 Kianna Buckner rated it it was amazing
"Nighttime Ninja" was a great book. A little boy is dressed as a ninja and he is on a mission around the house. He is suppose to be sleep. He get caught when his mom finds him around the house and tells him to go back to sleep.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I like how the author used very few words. I think young boys in the grades of kindergarten-3rd will really enjoy this because a lot of boys that age are really into ninjas. They will connect with the little boy in the story.

The illustr
Marissa Reyes
The text Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta had a childlike storyline in which children can relate closely with because every child has had the experience of sneaking through the dark corridors of ones home without stirring their sleeping parents in order to get away with a late night snack. This book caught my attention because of the illustration on the cover, however, as I began to flip through the text the illustrations were a disappointment and did not do the story justice. I am not impress ...more
Apr 02, 2014 Autumn rated it liked it
K picked this book up at his school library.
So I read this at bedtime and I thought okay Nighttime ninja what could it be about. But I was kind of disappointed. When we start out you are seeing a ninja what looks like to be climbing a wall, but at the end you realize the ninja is a boy who was going after something he wanted when everyone was a sleep. So I was a bit like umm okay? I think it would have been better if we saw him sneak out of his room, roll past his parent's bedroom door, creep d
Dec 02, 2014 Angie rated it it was ok
Synopsis: "Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal...and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission?
With spare text and lush illustrations, Nighttime Ninja is a fun, adventure-filled story about the power of play and imagination."

My Review: A cute story about stealing through the house in the middle of the night with a special goal in mind. I didn't really l
Jan 03, 2013 Joella rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book, night, ninja
A young ninja goes on a mission at midnight. Pages of illustrations show how he climbs, sneaks and moves toward his target. Then he gets out his tools…and the lights turn on. His mom catches him eating a midnight snack and sends him back to bed.

The story is simple and concise…just like a ninja’s moves. The illustrations are great. The shadow of a ninja goes over brilliant textures and shapes. I especially like the ninja’s silhouette over the full moon with the bamboo leaves in the foreground. An
Dec 03, 2012 Terri rated it really liked it
A Publisher's Weekly Best Book of 2012.
Caldecott contender? (Yes! - Ed Young wrote and illustrated "The House Babba Built.")

"Nighttime Ninja," written by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young, is the story of a nighttime ninja on a mission. Both he and the reader get surprises in this book. The text is sparse here so the beautiful illustrations ("done in cut paper, textured cloth, string, and colored pencil") tell as much of the story as the text. Both author and illustrator do a nice job
Jan 19, 2015 Carol rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
My 6-year old son thought this book was "Awesome!" but it had the word Ninja in the title. Therefore, we knew immediately that it would appeal to him.

The story is cute, but it's also enough like other stories that I just don't think there's anything special about it. The illustrations are okay for the story, but again, nothing spectacular.

If you've got a ninja loving kid, this is a short, easy read to get from the library, but I wouldn't buy it. (Its three star rating from me is an average bet
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
This is a good read for young children. This cute story is made up media art, and features few simplistic words, making it easy for younger readers to stay engaged with the book. I'm not a huge fan of media art, but I liked how what the illustrator did with this book. As the story begins the art fits that of the story, it's darker colors give off the feel of nighttime, and the mystery of what the ninja is going. The further along the story gets, the lighter the colors become, until we get toward ...more
Becky B
A ninja is sneaking into a house on a secret mission (view spoiler)...only to be interrupted by his mother and set on a new mission (view spoiler).

I did not see the ending for this one coming. It starts off all serious and ninja-y, and then...well, you just have to read it. It was quite funny, and something all kids will identify with at least being tempted to try. A great book to use when talking about making pr
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
Love, love, love Ed Young's artwork for this book. It's just wonderful... and fun. The colors are are striking, his work sometimes kid-simple, and at other times intricate and subtle. And it combines with Barbara DaCosta's terse text to make for a boy-friendly bedtime read.

Not that adventure-girls! won't love it too, but it's a book with an undercurrent of sneaking craftiness as a trip to the kitchen is disguised as a ninja mission.

Good fun. It's nice to have a beautiful book that can be used a
Jan 08, 2016 Michelle rated it really liked it
A Ninja steals through the night. His goal, to get a midnight snack!The ninja stalks and sneaks and devours, that is, until his mother puts him back to bed.
This is a cute little story.The illustration is a mixture of cut crate paper and photograph. There are very few words, so most of the story is told through the pictures. It's unclear what the ninja is after until the end of the book, which causes some suspense, but the end is sweet as the ninja's mother shows her love for her little boy. I pr
Meghan Hunt
Oct 17, 2012 Meghan Hunt rated it really liked it
Shelves: jp-picture-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barbara DaCosta
Nov 26, 2012 Barbara DaCosta rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Disclosure: I am the author...for those interested, here is the link for our website, where there are kids' activities, reviews, and appearances: visit

"DaCosta crafts her spare text carefully and with humor.... The depth of feeling Da Costa and Young give to the boy’s fantasy makes this a standout." --- Publishers Weekly

"Succinct language full of vivid verbs describing the action sets the mood for Young’s lushly textured illustrations...." ---Kirkus Reviews
Dec 23, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
My 1st grade students love ninjas! So when I told them we were going to preview a book together about ninjas, they went crazy! We went through "ninjas" with a fine tooth comb. We talked about the super cool cover and the stealthy ninja moves on the end pages. We talked about the author's intent in having some pages with text and others without. They really liked Nighttime Ninja but I think they wanted more. It's not the author's fault. She has created this book as a bedtime story..not necessaril ...more
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Vote for Nighttime Ninja! 1 3 Apr 17, 2013 09:56AM  
Introducing Nighttime NInja 2 4 Dec 23, 2012 07:31PM  
  • hello! hello!
  • Oh, No!
  • More
  • A Home for Bird
  • Infinity and Me
  • Red Knit Cap Girl
  • Chloe and the Lion
  • Boot & Shoe
  • Black Dog
  • Step Gently Out
  • One Special Day: A Story for Big Brothers and Sisters
  • Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington
  • Homer
  • Sleep Like a Tiger
  • Green
  • Baby Bear Sees Blue
  • Penguin and Pinecone
  • I'm Bored
From lighthearted children's books to adult mysteries, Barbara DaCosta enjoys looking at the odd, quirky things in life. DaCosta's latest work is Mighty Moby , her second collaboration with Caldecott Award-winning artist Ed Young. Their first book was bestseller Nighttime Ninja, , winner of the Children's Choice Award. DaCosta's short stories for grownups have been featured in such places as Re ...more
More about Barbara DaCosta...

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