Review Blog

Apr 20 2011

The Boy Who Cried Ninja by Alex Latimer

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Corgi Books, 2011.
(Ages 4-7) Recommended. Tim has a vivid imagination and whenever a problem arises such as missing chocolate cake, the loss of Dad's hammer or forgotten homework he blames it on a passing Ninja, astronaut or giant squid. For some reason his parents don't believe him, even though Latimer's comical illustrations demonstrate Tim is clearly telling the truth.  
Tim decides that the only option is to lie. So when trouble is caused by a sunburned crocodile and a time travelling monkey Tim accepts all the blame. However even this doesn't satisfy his parents, who punish him even more. In desperation Tim invites all the badly behaved creatures to a party and when his parents realise he is telling the truth they set the real culprits some well deserved punishment chores.
The combination of Alex Latimer's vivid imagination and wacky illustrations make this new interpretation of The Boy Who Cried Wolf a perfect choice for children beginning to grasp the fine balance between literal and figurative storytelling. The children I read this with enjoyed debating whether the incredible tale could be true - which would be great fun, or whether Tim's phenomenal imagination had successfully hoodwinked his parents - which would be even better as it's great when children run rings around a bunch of grown-ups! Whichever way you look at it Latimer dishes up a comical plot which could lead to extensive exercise of that favourite muscle, the imagination. Just how many scenarios can young readers come up with for their own excuses? After reading this, 'the dog ate my homework' simply won't cut the mustard!
Claire Larson

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