Our favorite Board Book we’ve found for the Geek Baby – especially that isn’t one that we remember from growing up (nostalgia is a thing!) – is Hello Ninja by N.D. Wilson.
It’s a great little read, full of fruit-chopping ninja action. It’s cute, and while on the one hand it seems like a lot of it is play or imagination, on the other hand it never even implies that such a thing would make the boy less of a ninja.
The book only has the one “he” pronoun, and the ninja is covered up pretty much throughout… nothing that makes it at all that it has to be a boy. Our little Geek Baby can ninja too!
So I finally decided that we should buy the second board book by N.D. Wilson, that we kept seeing advertised on the back of the book. We loved this one so much, the other one had to be good too, right?
Blah Blah Black Sheep is about a little black sheep that is weird and different from everyone else, who stands out does all the wrong things. The narrator voice is judging, calling the black sheep silly, crazy, and wacky, and with lots of “no nos” and “blah blahs.”
Until you get to this section.
Now we’re adding the level of scolding of what your mama told you. What you’ve been taught by your parents, what you’ve been taught by society about what is right. So spoiler alert, a coyote attacks, and the black sheep saves the day! By being wacky and zany on a page without text, so that’s fun to read to the Geek Baby…
But then the narrator voice turns around, now that the black sheep was the hero.
Which leaves us wondering… what exactly is the lesson that this judgy tale is supposed to be teaching? It’s not listen to what society is saying or what’s expected of you. It’s not listen to your parents, which seems like a group you might want to tell a child to listen to.
No, what seems to be the message is that being different is good… at the expense of society and family expectations. Now, when you say that lesson to me, my thought is teenager. Like, rebellious teenager. Or teenager reading their first dystopian novel. What I don’t think of is a one year old child. That just doesn’t feel like the sort of lesson they need to learn yet. In particular flipping the script on listening to mama… this especially means that Holly doesn’t like reading this book at all.
Anyway, I would highly recommend Hello Ninja… and not at all recommend Blah Blah Black Sheep.