Review: Fruit Ninjas
When I took out my review copy and started to leaf through this book, my colleague called out to me “That’s a great game!” I’m not much of a gamer, nor are my kids, so I hadn’t heard of it, nor did I know it’s in production for a movie. I already knew that this is going to be of high interest, but after reading it, and armed with this knowledge, I’m certain it’s going to be in high demand
Fruit Ninja: Frenzy ForceBy Brendan Deboy. Illustrator Erich Owen
Amp Kids. May 2018. ISBN 9781449480974
PBK, $9.99. 80pp.
Grades 2 and up
Four friends, Ralph, Peng, Seb, and Niya, discover a hidden cache of costumes, weapons, and powers that have been dormant for 1,000 years. The kids train to fight and learn how to be Fruit Ninjas, but after a month, they are itching to use their powers and are itching to fight bad guys. Then adventure comes, as does the action.
If you’re looking for a deep read, don’t come here. But if you’re looking for a fun, action-filled story with loads of humor and vibrant artwork, then do find a copy of this book. There are humorous characters, like the old man who explains what backstory is and shows up to warn the kids that bad guys are coming. There’s the bad guy, who’s somewhat suave and seemingly transparent, while the Fruit Ninjas seem rather naïve and well… thick. But they know how to fight, and they are part of a wonderfully entertaining story.
The artwork is much like an animated story, with rich colors. There are hints of manga in the artwork (look at the hair). The artwork certainly lends the feeling of excitement as Seb leads his friends to the hidden tunnel and the action and excitement of the fight scenes.
The back matter is actually great: There are instructions on how to create secret messages with lemon juice and a recipe for fruit smoothies. It also includes a history of ninjas and fruit. (So I knew the tomato was a fruit! But did you know that the Supreme Court ruled it was a vegetable?) Interesting tidbits.
Given that this is a media tie-in both in the world of video games and movies, this is a title worth add to your shelf for those who are interested.
I did have the opportunity to give this book to my third-grade son. He looked at it and said, “it looks funny.” He gave it back to me a short while later and said, “it was good.” I thought he’d be more enthusiastic, and asked why he wasn’t, and he answered, “because I want to know what happens next.”
A simple answer, but if I were a betting person, I’d bet there’s already another issue in the making.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.
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