North Pole Ninjas

GREGSON, Tyler Knott & . illus. by Piper Thibedeau. 32p. Grosset & Dunlap. Oct. 2016. Tr $29.99. ISBN 9780399539442.
PreS-Gr 1—Everyone knows that Santa has elves helping with the Christmas magic. But what might not be known (because it's hush hush) is that the North Pole Ninjas secretly do good deeds. And the children who read this book are instantly deputized to become ninja Christmas helpers "to care for others' needs." Sweep snowy stairs. Donate unwanted toys and clothes, as well as "treats you love to eat. Donate sardines, soups, and beans."
VERDICT The garish cartoon illustrations and the ninja focus lead the unsuspecting to anticipate some sort of Christmas adventure…but no, it's just a heavy-handed message with messy meter and awkward rhymes.

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