Grade 4–6—The history of the ninja is a source of fascination for readers, typically due to the way they have been portrayed in popular culture, but also because they have long been shrouded in mystery. Even in historical documentation, it is difficult to tell fact from fiction. Turnbull presents all of his depictions as fact, even while many of the details are vague (particularly in the case of two assassinations, which may have instead been natural deaths or suicides). Short tales of ninja daring are accompanied by attractive illustrations that do not always match the text. For example, one story describes undercover operatives who spied on an enemy camp by disguising themselves, but the picture depicts them in typical gear. Turnbull's definition of ninja is stretched in many cases, as some of his tales are about samurai who use cunning techniques or thieves who may have started some of the legends. The stories initially appear to be ordered chronologically, but this is not true throughout. Overall, this is an excellent collection of ninja tales, but less useful as a factual resource due to the lack of documentation.—Alana Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.