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Book Review – Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted To Be Noticed by Julie Phillips

The best in children’s literature, selected by Jim Whiting.

Julie Phillipps

J.C. Phillipps grew up in Toledo, Ohio and has been an artist her entire life. She studied theater and playwriting in college and eventually put the two together to become a writer and illustrator of picture books. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband and six-year old son, who loves to be noticed. Wink! The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed is her debut book.

Attending the Summer Moon School for Young Ninjas is a dream come true for young Wink. He can kick, jump, tumble and punch, but he has a difficult time mastering the art of stealth. Wink wants to be noticed! Wink’s teacher, Master Zutsu, is not pleased and Wink is eventually expelled. It’s only when he stumbles upon a family of circus performers that he finds a place where he can truly shine.

Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed

Written and illustrated by J.C. Phillipps

Viking, 2009

Ages 3-7, 40 pages


Starred Review from School Library Journal:

* Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed. J.C. Phillipps. (Viking 978-0-670-01092-9).

K-Gr 3-Ninjas are supposed to be silent and stealthy. This creates problems for Wink, a ninja in training who has a flamboyant streak. The desire to be in the spotlight causes Master Zutsu to send him home several times with admonishments that read like proverbs: “The loudest cricket is the first to be caught” and “The blossom that flaunts its color is soon plucked.”

Wink’s grandmother tries to cheer him up and shares a few proverbial sayings of her own, including “Time spent laughing is time well spent” and “Sometimes a worry must rest.” After a particularly disastrous outing to the panda pen at the zoo, Wink encounters a boy practicing acrobatic tricks and realizes that he has found his special talent.

This charming story ends with Master Zutsu and Grandmother receiving tickets to the Lucky Dragon Circus. After watching Wink, aka “the Nimble Ninja,” perform, Grandmother remarks, “Your smile has come home.”

Phillipps’s debut is an auspicious one. The story’s oft-told message of acceptance has been invigorated with originality and humor. The collage-style illustrations often appear to have a three-dimensional effect and Wink practically bounds off the pages with barely contained energy. The rich colors and textures contribute to the setting and complement the action nicely. This flashy picture book is sure to appeal to a wide audience. – Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover , MA

Why would grandparents buy this book?

This is a book for energetic grandchildren who love to run through the house, jump off the couch, and scream “Look at me!” while they ride a clothes hamper down your stairs.  It’s a must-have for any child in karate class or who’s begging to go.

Please feel free to visit my blog: www.ninjawoman.com. My website is www.jcphillips.com.

For more information about Jim, please see www.jimwhiting.com. To inquire about availability of specific titles or to send a comment, write him at jimruns3@gmail.com.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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