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Ninjas: Japan's Stealthy Secret Agents (Graphic History: Warriors).

Chandler, Matt

Ninjas: Japan's Stealthy Secret Agents (Graphic History: Warriors)

Illustrated by Silvio DB

Raintree, 2019, pp32, [pounds sterling]12.99 978 1 4747 8174 9

This book from Raintree's Graphic History series is an easy read recounting the history behind the legends of warrior ninjas in Japan in the 15th and 16th centuries. Aimed at Dark Red level readers (fluent on Raintree's Engage Literacy scale) it features five stories--Hanzo, Sarutobi, Fuma Kotaro, Kunoichi andThe Fall of the Iga. Stealthy battle techniques, use of weaponry and tales of daring raids are told in comic strip style punctuated with speech bubbles and loud noises. Espionage, self-sacrifice, courage, respect, bravery and honour are among the themes featured. There is a gender balance with the inclusion of Mochizuki's tale, who trained fierce women in the art of war, subterfuge and the use of deadly poison after her Samurai husband's demise.

Brazilian artist Silvio DB has chosen a rich palette of earth browns, jades, turquoises, dusky blues and vivid violets with bursts of flaming oranges and vibrant red to denote violence. His work is expressive conveying emotion and showcasing battle stances.

Chandler uses a basic vocabulary and a mixture of narration and dialogue which will appeal to visual learners who like action and adventure. The layout includes a chronology of key battles, a map of Japan, an explanation of the different types of Ninja weapons, a glossary, further reading suggestions and simple comprehension questions at the back to aid navigation.

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Author:Jennings, Tanja
Publication:School Librarian
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 22, 2019
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