Tag Archives: Dan Santat

Ninja Red Riding Hood

23 Jul

18012467Ninja Red Riding Hood written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat (2014)

Hot off the presses! If you’ve read The Three Ninja Pigs (Rosen & Santat, 2012) you’ll remember what happened to that big bad wolf when the pigs took martial arts lessons. If you haven’t, shame on you! See my review here then run out and pick up a copy.

A brand new twist on an old favorite… Now that beat-up, licked, and ticked-off wolf from the pig story, decides to take classes himself. He becomes a confident fighting machine and sets off to get a good meal. Following the traditional storyline, the wolf meets Red in the woods and  sends her off to pick flowers, while he hurries to Granny’s house and disguises himself in her robe. When Red arrives, they have the familiar eyes, ears, and teeth conversation. But surprise… when he jumps out of bed to devour Red, the wolf finds out that she too has been to Ninja school! A mighty battle ensues and the two appear to be evenly matched. Then Gran returns home from her tai chi class distracting the wolf just enough for Red to get the upper hand. Wolf is beaten and promises to give up red meat. Wolf and Red bow to each other and Gran offers them a peach pie. The defeated wolf decides to take up yoga instead.

Corey Rosen Schwartz takes the ninja theme up a notch. She artfully weaves the ninja message and eastern culture into the popular children’s fairy tale.

Dan Santat does it again! He’s a ninja-artist of the highest degree. Every scene is packed with legendary ninja action and hair-raising details.

This book is perfect for little ninjas. And I love that Schwartz and Santat have teamed up again to bring us this masterpiece of ancient storytelling and modern style.

The Three Ninja Pigs

27 May

13586798The Three Ninja Pigs written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and illustrated by Dan Santat (2012)

This is a new twist on an old classic. That bully, the big bad wolf, is at it again… this time in a fractured fairy tale rhyme written by Corey Rosen Schwartz. The characters are three simple pigs who have had enough of that old bully. They decide to take aikido, jujitsu, and karate. As expected, the first two pigs give up easily but the third little pig ‘persisted in ernest’ until she earned her last belt. Then when the wolf came back, the first little pig wished he had prepared more and ran to his brother’s house; the second little pig got his foot lodged in the wall when he tried his best flying kick and had to be carried by his brother to the third little pig’s house; and the third little pig bowed to the wolf and gave him a warning before she demonstrated her skills. The surprised wolf took off running while the brothers ‘high-fived their sister’ and cheered.  The brothers decided to go back to school and trained until they earned their degrees. “Three pigs full of mojo then ran their own dojo, and life was forever wolf-free.”

Corey Rosen Schwartz weaves the story with fast-paced action and humor and lots of ‘ninja’ terms to entertain the youngest ninja readers. She says she got her idea for the story when her own son told someone that he spoke a little ‘karate’. For anyone not familiar with the vocabulary used in the book, there is a glossary of terms at the end.

Dan Santat, creator of Disney’s ‘The Replacements’ and holder of a black belt himself, filled the pages of this book with funny and authentic illustrations.

I love reading fractured fairy tales and this is one of my new favorites. The rhyme and illustrations are ninja-perfect! And I’m also particularly pleased with the characterization of the third little pig being a smart, funny, and strong sister. Go Girl Power!

Carnivores

27 Apr

Carnivores

written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Dan Santat (2013)

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Just look at those face.  How can you not feel sorry for them? They’re at the top of their food chains and have to take so much guff from those lesser herbivores who continually complain that their friends and family members are eaten. But they’re delicious! And really, the carnivores did try to exercise constraint. They formed a carnivore support group and pledged to go vegetarian. That didn’t work… the wolf claimed that ‘every single berry bush seemed to have a bunny inside’. They also tried wearing disguises so they would blend in with crowd… but the when the lion tried to dress like an antelope, they ‘smelled his zebra breath, and it was all over’. Eventually, they consulted with the wise old owl, who also happens to be a carnivore, and he reminds them that they’re not bad, they’re carnivores, it’s just what they do! The owl was right and ‘it turned out he was also delicious’. So now whenever another animal gets too close, they get eaten. After all, they’re not bad… THEY’RE CARNIVORES!

What a deliciously fabulous, if not a bit irreverent, picture book. The text and illustrations go together like surf and turf. Get yourself a copy soon and enjoy the tasty combination for yourself.

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