- Mosquitoes Can’t Bite Ninjas by Jordan Novak
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-68119-215-4 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-68119-213-0 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R 3-6 yrs
You’d think nobody is safe from mosquito attack, but in this picture book Novak makes a strong case for ninjas having discovered the secrets to insect evasion. Obviously, being garbed from head to toe, with only eyeballs exposed, is an advantage, but as scenes of outwitted mosquitoes demonstrate, it’s mad hot ninja skill that makes all the difference. “Mosquitoes are sneaky . . . ” as the attacker nears the ninja dozing under a tree, “but ninjas are sneakier” as the ninja leaps up between the tree branches. “Mosquitoes are quick . . . ” as ninja meditates in lotus position, “but ninjas are quicker,” as he deftly catches the mosquito by the wing with a pair of chopsticks, seemingly using only the barest of efforts. The mosquito is only well [End Page 276] and truly vanquished, however, when it gets its proboscis stuck in the ninja’s PB&J sandwich, proving that although mosquitoes can’t bite ninjas, ninjas can certainly bite mosquitoes. There’s a pleasing cartoonish vibe to the ink and digital art, with our stealthy ninja evoking Megan McCarthy’s pop-eyed figures. Although this is a one-gag offering and the wording of the punchline isn’t quite as tight and pithy as one might hope, the ninja vs. mosquito antics, which have that perennial Road Runner vs. Wile E. Coyote appeal, are entertaining enough to carry the day.