Nighttime Ninja
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Nighttime Ninja

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  599 ratings  ·  146 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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*Queen Diva*
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...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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...more
This Panda Award Nominee didn't disappoint yesterday with P2s or today with PYellow. It was suspenseful all the way through!
Nearly wordless, this is a fun read aloud. The illustrations are marvelous and tell most of the story.
Feb 26, 2014 Jess rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: kiddos
Suspense for the picture book crowd. If your kid likes it, this is the sort of book you read on repeat.

In her author's note, Barbara DaCosta admits to being a nighttime ninja herself. Too bad the one here isn't a girl. I mean really.

Reminded me of Seven Blind Mice which of course it should because it's illustrated by Ed Young. Way to read all the title page info, Jess. :)
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...more
Amy Musser
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...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
Annette Ruane
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
Miss Kate Reads
This is a sweet book about imagination and adventure. The illustrations were actually made from cut paper and objects giving the book a very textured appearance and "feel" (the book does have two different textures on the cover). Overall this book was very charming but it also left me feeling like I wished it was just a little bit longer as though it wasn't quite finished - not that the ending was incomplete or unsatisfying; the book just didn't feel like it was quite long enough and felt like i...more
My five-year-old son picked this book out from the library last week.

This book is adorable. And relatable. My son knows all about nighttime stealth skills. Only when I ask him what he has or is doing, he doesn't respond with "nothing"; he says, "You don't want to know."

The illustrations were perfect. The added just the right amount of mystery and atmosphere.
I like the concept of the illustrations. I saw the Scholastic video with the illustrator, and the students and I found it interesting.
However, the book didn't measure up to our interest. There could have been a few more hints along the way. The kids had no clue what was going on at first....and neither did I.
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
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...more
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...more
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
Ed Young's collage illustrations are wonderful. The ninja looks so stealthy and quite. And then he is caught by his mother. Oops! A funny story about being up past your bedtime.
Barbara DaCosta
Nov 26, 2012 Barbara DaCosta rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (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
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
Pamela "I'm Overbooked" 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...more
Meghan Hunt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nighttime Ninja is very, very cool. A fitting story, with fascinating cut-out art. Worth reading with your little ninja.
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...more
Joshua Piorier
Me and my child both thoroughly enjoyed this book. It fun and funny and all in all a great read.
A ninja quietly (of course) slinks through a house on a mission. That mission ends abruptly, though, when the lights come on--he's caught!

I read this one because I have boys asking me for ninja books in the library every other week or so. SPOILER: Turns out, the ninja is just a kid sneaking through his house to get a late-night snack, and his captor is his mother. This fact will turn this book into one big bummer for kids who are really into ninjas, but it will make a satisfying ending for young...more
I love the illustrations, but the story needs more.
Very clever. My kids love it.
Illustrations make the book.
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Vote for Nighttime Ninja! 1 2 Apr 17, 2013 09:56AM  
Introducing Nighttime NInja 2 4 Dec 23, 2012 07:31PM  
  • hello! hello!
  • A Home for Bird
  • More
  • Oh, No!
  • Chloe and the Lion
  • I'm Bored
  • Sleep Like a Tiger
  • One Special Day: A Story for Big Brothers and Sisters
  • Infinity and Me
  • Boot & Shoe
  • Penguin and Pinecone
  • Black Dog
  • Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle
  • Red Knit Cap Girl
  • Crankee Doodle
  • Big Mean Mike
  • The Quiet Place
  • Charley's First Night
From lighthearted children's books to adult mysteries, Barbara DaCosta enjoys looking at the odd, quirky things in life. DaCosta's debut children's picture book is Nighttime Ninja, illustrated by Caldecott Award-winner Ed Young (Little, Brown 2012). DaCosta's short stories for grownups have been featured in such places as Resort to Murder and Why Did Santa Leave a Body?
More about Barbara DaCosta...
Resort to Murder: Thirteen More Tales of Mystery by Minnesota's Premier Writers

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