Ninja: First Mission (Ninja Trilogy) by Chris Bradford and Sonia Leong

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Ninja: First Mission (Ninja Trilogy) by Chris Bradford and Sonia Leong

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: An excellent story that will satisfy young readers desperate for action as well as the more thoughtful child.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 68 Date: June 2011
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1842999394

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If you are looking for adventure, Ninja First Mission will certain come up trumps. This book never has a slow moment. But even as the story races along at breakneck speed, there is plenty to think about as well. This book has as much to offer the deep thinker as the adrenaline junky. Tata, a young Ninja in training, is desperate to prove himself. He has failed the test for his black belt three times, but this was just a simple test. The sacred scrolls of his clan have been stolen, and all of the fully fledged Ninja but one are away on another mission. Tata faces another test, but this time the stakes are life and death, not only for himself, but for his clan. In order to succeed Tata must learn to find victory in failure. Most of all he must learn to believe in himself.

I know this book is intended for children, but I absolutely loved it. I loved the way the Master gently instructs Tata in lessons which are just as important for modern children as they would have been half a century ago when this story takes place. This book has an odd mixture of high octane adventure with peace and tranquillity. It has much in common with Zen Koans. This is more than light fiction. This book challenges us to examine our own hearts and learn from our mistakes. There is more than enough depth to this story to make it a worthy read for adults as well as for children.

My son loved this for other reasons. Whether he knows he is learning ethics and values while he reads books like this or not, I really don't know. He simply loved this as a good story, with a very good trick played on the villain. The excellent, manga like illustrations certainly added to his pleasure in reading this, as did the realistic characters and intense but believable action. I also know he understands the protagonist's feelings perfectly on failing the test for his belt. My son has not yet failed a test, but he has had to delay one due to injury. He knows the frustration of working so hard for another belt only to have it pulled away. This book is wonderful because it teaches the child that the colour of the belt doesn't matter. It is what is inside the person. You are not an expert in any martial art because you hold a certain colour of belt. You hold the belt because of what you know, and if it takes a little bit longer to earn that recognition - that is more time to learn. But this book isn't just about the martial arts, this book is has something for everyone - it teaches the reader to rejoice in our mistakes. It is only by trying, and sometimes failing that we may learn, and by continuing to try, no matter how many times we fail that we may finally succeed.

Ninja First Mission is part of Barrington Stoke's line of books written specifically for children with dyslexia. These books follow all of the guidelines of the British Dyslexia Association for dyslexia-friendly text. Working with a team of experts in the field, Barrington Stoke have developed their own font which is especially designed to make reading as easy as possible for children with dyslexia. They also print all of their books on a thick, off white, non-glare paper to minimise distractions which can make reading more difficult. The print is large and double spaced, with short chapters and short stories created to build confidence. The stories are commissioned by Barrington Stoke, usually from very well known authors, and are written to appeal to older children, with a high interest level but a low reading level.

Barrington Stoke also has some of the best stories we have come across for older children. These are books you just cannot put down. My own child does not suffer from dyslexia, but he has commented on how much easier it is to read the books with this style of print. The double spacing and frequent breaks mean he does not lose his place in the book, and makes reading a far more enjoyable experience. These books can literally be life changing for a child who is struggling to learn to read, but they make reading easier for all young children, whether they have disabilities or not.

Barrington Stoke have listed this as a reading age of 8 and an interest level of ages 8 -12. I can agree with the lower age limits. My youngest child, age 5, did enjoy this book, but I think some of the depth of the story was lost on him. I would argue the upper age limit though. I feel this book has something to offer older readers as well. I have to admit, I am as probably looking forward to the author's next book even more than the children.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy:

Samurai by Ian Beck and Daniel Atanasov

The Way of the Warrior (Young Samurai) by Chris Bradford

Buy Ninja: First Mission (Ninja Trilogy) by Chris Bradford and Sonia Leong at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ninja: First Mission (Ninja Trilogy) by Chris Bradford and Sonia Leong at

Buy Ninja: First Mission (Ninja Trilogy) by Chris Bradford and Sonia Leong at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ninja: First Mission (Ninja Trilogy) by Chris Bradford and Sonia Leong at


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