Ninja Kid #1: From Nerd to Ninja! – Anh Do

Illustrations – Jeremy Ley

Anh Do can do no wrong in my eyes! I love both his WeirDo and Hot Dog! series, and his new series, Ninja Kid, is even more fun. Nelson Kane is a nerd. He lives on a junkyard with his Mum, Grandma Pat and cousin Kenny.

His Mum works as a cleaner because the junkyard isn’t doing that well and given the amount of food cousin Kenny can put away in his ultra skinny frame, he’s probably eating for five. Nelson’s Dad was a fisherman who sadly was lost at sea.

Grandma Pat is one of the coolest grannies around. She’s an inventor whose inventions work really well – sometimes. It’s handy that this grannie lives in a junkyard because all of this random stuff, including the kitchen sink, is at her disposal when she’s in invention mode, which seems to be all the time.

She looks to me like a caricature of actress Linda Hunt. She’s the school principal who at 1.45m (4’ 9”) stands up to Arnie with her, “I’m watching you!” in Kindergarten Cop. I love that movie! You may know her from something slightly more recent, like NCIS: Los Angeles.

Anyway, imagine a mad scientist grannie with a lab coat, fluffy bunny slippers, a tooth (yes, just the one that I saw), hair up in a messy bun with a wrench poking out in one spot and a critter that may well be the Loch Ness Monster poking out somewhere else. I’m sure Nessie will be identified in some later book as a mouse or something to that effect, but until it’s identified I want it to be Nessie.

So, nerdy Nelson wakes up on his tenth birthday to a spider perched on his nose. He proceeds to jump/fall out of bed and instead of falling flat on his face like he usually would, he does some impressive acrobatics and lands on his feet. 🤔 Then he realises he no longer needs his glasses as he can see perfectly without them. 🤔🤔

As luck would have it today is the day he finds out he’s a ninja, likely the only one on the planet, and that’s going to come with some responsibility. But, shh! Don’t tell anyone because it’s a secret right now! 🤫

Before this book is over you’ll encounter a bully, plenty of bananas, more bug spray than you’ve likely ever seen and a giant thong. Oh, for those of you wondering what a thong is doing in a kid’s book, in Australia thongs are what you call flip flops, not what you were thinking of.

Jeremy Ley’s illustrations are so, so brilliant! The cover image gives you a preview of what’s to come. There are pictures on most pages and they’re simply awesome! The story comes alive in them and their humour mirrors that of the story. I don’t know how much interaction authors and illustrators have but these guys are on the same page in this book (in all possible ways).

As usual Anh Do’s writing has funny bits suitable for kids and adults, the family has interesting quirks, the story hooks you straight away and you finish the book wishing you had the next one beside you to start reading immediately.

Reader Beware: You will encounter a cliffhanger. While technically you could finish this book and be done you won’t want to be. If Anh’s other series are anything to go by there won’t be a dud among them and I can’t wait for the next one!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Nelson is a nerd! Unfit, uncool … totally awkward! But when he wakes up on his tenth birthday, he discovers he is a NINJA! THE LAST NINJA ON EARTH! How is he going to save the world when he cannot even get his undies on the right way?! With the help of Grandmas inventions and his wild cousin Kenny, can Nelson master his new ninja skills AND save Duck Creek?

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