17 December 2015

Review: Ninja Timmy by Henrik Tamm

Ninja Timmy by Henrik TammEvery once in a while a book written for a middle grade audience breaks out to become a family favorite--the Narnia series and Harry Potter immediately come to mind. Henrik Tamm's Ninja Timmy carries the same power, and Timmy, the crime-fighting cat, will soon become a beloved character for readers of all ages.

What's it about: Timmy (who likes to think he's no longer a kitten) and his friend Simon the mink like to invent and build practical machines, sometimes with the help with their friends Jasper and Casper, piglet brothers who happen to be math whizzes. One bad day, the four have a run-in with the town bullies, the wild boar Gribble cousins. Luckily, Timmy is rescued by Albert, an old man who builds magical toys. Meanwhile, the city is experiencing a crime spree: Someone is stealing all the human and animal childen's laughter. With Albert's help, Timmy and his gang decide to transform themselves into ninjas and make the streets safe once again. But will the four animal friends be able to stop whoever is behind the evil scheme?

Ninja Timmy by Henrik TammThe characters: Each character has a unique personality and no one is without flaws. Jasper and Casper bicker, as brothers do; Timmy wants to be a leader but is often afraid; Simon is sometimes too vain. Even Albert, the adult human, has to face the consequences of his poor decisions. Yet together, the ninja gang overcome their weakness to do what's right for each other and for the town.

The world: First, I love how comfortably the animal and human citizens of the city interact and live together. There is nothing surprising about a talking animal or a friendship between a cat and and man. Timmy's world is magical, but it's also very much familiar, making it easy to relate to the story and the setting. I also like the hint of steampunk in Albert and Timmy's toys and machines. Oh and don't forget the motorcycle-riding iguanas (hint: stay away from them)!

The story: The plot itself moves along well and seems to hit that perfect mix of action and character development. Although Ninja Timmy is written for the upper end of the middle grade audience, it's not quite as complex as an adult fantasy. However, the friendships, ethical dilemmas, personal growth, and even sweet young love add enough layers to keep older readers' attention.

Genre & audience: middle grade fantasy with steampunk elements.

Ninja Timmy by Henrik TammThemes: bullying, laughing, doing the right thing, friendship, magic, working as a team, forgiveness, redemption, facing up to one's mistakes, asking for help

Illustrations: You might not recognize Henrik Tamm's name, but I know you recognize his work. He is a Hollywood conceptual designer and has worked on Shrek and the Narnia movies. The illustrations in Ninja Timmy (see the scans) are simply gorgeous, sparking the imagination and bringing the story to life.

Recommendation: Henrik Tamm's Ninja Timmy is perfect for anyone who likes stories with lovable characters, a little magic, and a lot of action. This would be a great choice for a family read-along--everyone will fall in love with Timmy and his friends. Oh, and I'm happy to say the book ends with the promise of more stories to come. I can't wait to see what the Magical Ninjas will be doing next. (Click the images to enlarge; all rights remain with Tamm.)

Published by Penguin Random House / Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2015
ISBN-13: 9780385744515
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


bermudaonion 12/17/15, 7:40 AM  

Wow, that looks gorgeous! I'm sure Vance would have loved that when he was younger.

Vicki 12/17/15, 8:03 AM  

I love books for children that have positive messages, and this sounds really good. The artwork is beautiful too.

rhapsodyinbooks 12/17/15, 8:22 AM  

This actually sounds great for the smaller relatives. Thanks for highlighting it!

Daryl 12/17/15, 9:08 AM  

thanks, its a perfect gift for my friend's granddaughter ...

Tina 12/18/15, 8:49 AM  

That looks like a cute book I could put aside for my granddaughter. She's too young for it now but I like what you have written about it.

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