written and illustrated by Alex Latimer
Inside Jacket: Mischief is afoot, and no one velieves poor Tim’s explanations for any of it. No matter what Tim says, his parents just punish him with chores. To save himself, Tim hatches a plan to expose the truth. Will it work, or will he have to spend all of eternity raking the yard? Website: In this quirky twist on the fable The Boy Who Cried Wolf, a boy’s outrageous excuses turn out to have an unexpected element of truth.
First Sentence: Once there was a boy named Tim who no one believed.
The Boy Who Cried Ninja is a crazy picture book that encourages the truth, owning up for one’s actions, and the consequences of dishonesty and/or placing blame on others—or taking the fall when it is not yours to take. This is a fun and funny book for kids from 2 to 102, older if they’ve taken their vitamins. I love this picture book.
Odd things have been happening at Tim’s house and his parents blame him. They have never believed Tim. No one did. Tim is accused of taking the last piece of cake and his father’s hammer. His grandpa doesn’t believe Tim when he explains why he’s not finished his homework. Each time, Tim is sent to the yard to rake the leaves and think about what he’s done. And he did.
Tim thinks maybe it would be best if he lied. Then no one would be mad and he could get out of the dang back yard. (The “dang” is mine.) When he is asked what happened to the large pot of tea . . . he said he did it. Broken T.V. . . . he did it. Antenna (atop the roof) . . . he did it. Throwing pencils at his sleeping grandfather . . . of course, he did it. It worked! Everyone now believes him. But, Tim is now unhappy and is still sent to the yard to think.
Alex Latimer is both the author and the illustrator and his work will please most every child. He uses great imagination along side wonderfully, yet slightly odd (not eccentric, but odd), characters. Tim has a double-shaded body separated by a line, distinctly drawn and smack in the middle of Tim, from his crown down through his oval torso. One side is light ecru, the other a slightly darker tan. I am not sure if this dichotomy represents Tim’s Catch-22 predicament, or truth vs, lies, either way it is a perfect representation. If you look closely, all those that punished Tim, whether he told a lie or not, have this same “split-personality.”
I love the lighter colors Mr. Latimer used. The book looks like a calm read when in fact, the text is hilariously illustrated. A ninja, the size of Tim, stealthily creeps into Tim’s house, kicks the last piece of cake into the air and his mouth, swallowing it whole. The ninja then stealthily disappears. Tim’s mother does not believe him! She sends him to the yard to rake leaves and think.
The Boy Who Cried Ninja is great fun and has a lesson for all the “Tims” in the world and the people (okay, parents), who don’t believe them. I really like the dual lesson. One for the children and one for the adults. The parents lesson? Don’t jump to conclusions. When your child says something crazy, it just might be true. Okay, maybe that is just my interpretation. The author’s themes, I believe are telling the truth and learning how to solve problems. Tim tries telling the truth and it no one believes him, leaving the adults unhappy. Tim then tries to admit to each “did-you-do-it” question and the adults believe him, but now he is unhappy. Finally, Tim plans the perfect solution that leaves both the adults and Tim happy. He may be the happiest, if not the one with the sickest stomach.
This is the author’s first solo children’s book and he did a better than fine job. Both boys and girls will like this book. They might even try to put Tim’s plan into motion, or at least feel justified in doing this. Who hasn’t told the truth, repeatedly, and not been believed. Even worse, if a punishment accompanies your telling the truth. How awful! The best plan is Tim’s last plan. I am not going to say what that plan is or even hint at it. This is one story’s ending you must read for yourself. Hurry, before the ninja strikes again, this time taking every copy of The Boy Who Cried Ninja.
by Alex Latimer website blog Peachtree Publishers website blog Released on April 1, 2011 ISBN: 978-1-56145579-9 Trailer 32 pages Ages 4 to 8
Copyright © 2011 by Peachtree Publishers Text & Illustrations: Copyright © 2011 by Alex Latimer, used with permission.