North Pole Ninjas, Mission: Christmas
by Tyler Knott Gregson and Sarah Linden; art by Piper Thibodeau
Okay, I’m going to be really truthful here. I was never a fan of “The Elf on the Shelf” craze. There always seemed to be something slightly sinister about those elves; whatever their hair color might be.
The elf presumably arrives before Christmas, then moves nightly from place to place in the house, to be rediscovered anew in a new secret locale in the house by children each morning.
And where has the elf been each night? Presumably, he’s back in the North Pole reporting clandestine activities of the children back to Santa for his Naughty or Nice list. Always made me think those elves might be members of the NSA – Naughty Security Agency.
It always reminded me of that line from the song, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.”
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake.
Then, I recently discovered a picture book called North Fork Ninjas, Mission : Christmas, by Tyler Knott Greyson and Sarah Linden with art by Piper Thibodeau.
This one definitely puts a more positive spin on things that involve childrens’ pre-Christmas activities involving a bit of secrecy – but in a good way.
Did you know there’s a spot in the North Pole known to few? Hidden deep beneath the snow, there are elves other than those who make the toys, feed the deer, sprinkle the cookies and steer the sleigh.
But there are some secret elves
who are not often seen.
They spread their Christmas giving
In masks of red and green.
These are the North Pole Ninjas
They live for Christmas Day.
They are masters of helping,
led by Santa’s sensei.
For it’s these North Pole Ninjas
who always do good deeds.
They use their Christmas spirit
To care for other’s needs.
The “sensei” accompanies the picture book and is a red and green garbed Asian Yoda-like figure, who is wise in the ways of goodness, and is the North Pole Ninjas’ instructor.
Young readers will take to Piper Thibodeau’s bold and bright pictures of these small ninja elves parachuting down from the North Pole to do “random acts of kindness,” with nary a sound or sight left behind to discover their existence…save the good deed itself.
And guess what? These are so many good deeds that need doing that Santa has given these North Pole Ninjas permission to commission helpers…and that would be young readers who instead of being consumed this time of year with getting…can redistribute that energy into… giving.
Each picture book comes with a plush sensei that can get tucked in the pocket of young honorary ninjas as they undertake missions to spread cheer and good deeds this time of year.
Stay hidden and stay quiet
when shoveling that snow.
Secretly you’ll save Christmas,
no footprints where you go.
I like the message of generosity and selflessness this picture book inspires in children. It allows them to use kindness in ways that make them aware of the wider world, and those that may not be half so fortunate…and to do it in a way that does not ask for compensation or thanks. No trophy just for participation here; just the sure knowledge of good deeds done…in secret.
Co-partnering with Santa to spread cheer in a world that is, at best, in a kerfuffle, is a task most children would love to help to accomplish in small ways.
And North Pole Ninjas provides just the avenue for that willingness.
Tucked inside the box, alongside the “sensei” and picture book, is an envelope filled with numerous suggestions for missions for young ninjas.
When Santa’s bag is empty,
and reindeer start to soar,
you’ll stay a North Pole Ninja
now and evermore!
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