Diary of a 6th grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2017 ISBN 9781760295554
(Age: 9+) Recommended. School. Martial arts. Chase talks directly to the reader, enfolding them into his world of being a Ninja. Eleven year old Chase has an unromantic view of himself, scrawny, unpopular, not good at sports, a reader, but when his parents move into a slightly bigger house, he must go to a new school, Buchanan, and here things change. The only person he knows is his cousin, Zoe, but he is unsure about how he will fit in. She takes him under her wing, showing him around and introducing him to her friends, but when he sees something flash by his eyes in the woods near the school, she fends him off. But he is intrigued and going into the woods finds a Ninja clan, willing to allow him into their fold after he has passed the test. Zoe joins him, but when they are asked to do one more test, Zoe balks, walking away. Brayden warns Chase about joining the group but Chase is unconcerned, even if it means lying. But when the group gives him Zoe's backpack to return to the school, and he finds it full of money, the cash missing form the school money drive, he is torn thinking about what to do.
Friendship and loyalty drive this story as Chase must work out just who his friends are, and whether lying and stealing to be with the Ninjas is worth it.
The story about choices will appeal to the target audience. Easy to read, with chapters of three or four pages, and some illustrations to break up the print, the series of ten books will be sought after.
Fran Knight