#935 – Dojo Surprise by Chris Tougas

dojo surprise cover Dojo Surprise
Written and Illustrated by Chris Tougas
Owlkids Books   8/15/2016
32 pages    Ages 4—8

“It’s a silly dojo

SIX LITTLE NINJAS sneak into Dojo Daycare. It’s early, and Master thinks he’s all alone. So how to explain the strange noises and darting shadows that he sees and hears? Could it be the monster of his daydreams?

“Young readers will delight in knowing—well before Master does—what the little ninjas are planning. It’s the surprise of a lifetime, and you’re invited!” [inside jacket]

Six little ninjas from the Dojo Daycare, try to surprise their Master. While Master naps, the ninjas tiptoe into the daycare carrying boxes of decorations and handfuls of colorful balloons. Silent as can be, the ninjas carry in their supplies inside when suddenly a shout, “AAAH!” Suddenly Master SCREAMS! All the ninjas race out of sight, hiding behind posts or hanging from the ceiling.


Master thinks he was dreaming. With his ninja teddy bear in his arms, the Master decides he will not be taken by surprise if he . . . “AAAH!” Master shrieks after spotting two pools of purple dragon drool on his daycare floor. He now knows there is a dragon in his day care. Oh my. Once again, the ninjas quickly hide, ducking behind posts, jumping into a toy chest, and posing ET-like in a pile of stuffed animals. The ninjas are so fast we do not see even one of them moving.

Setting up the secret surprise party together for their Master is turning out to be more difficult than the six little ninjas probably expected. None is willing to give up. Will Master be surprised any further as the ninjas finish up their surprise?


Dojo Surprise does not disappoint. The little ninjas are as cute as they have always been, while they sneak in and set up for the surprise birthday party. Master, roused from his nap, does not get his full bearings until it is too late. The decorations are set and the presents ready to open, when Master finally sees what is going on, as the little ninjas in training yell a chorus or “Surprise!”

Young children will enjoy these silent ninjas with their bright balloons and fast reflexes. Notice two ninjas are girls; a wonderful show of inclusion in activities normally viewed as belonging to boys. The illustrations are quite expressive given the full ninja masks. I love Master’s teddy bear. The little bear ninja is adorable. Master clutches his bear for support. In return, the one-eyed bear seems to protect the Master (check out the back cover image).

The Dojo Daycare is a great place for little ninjas as characters and as readers. Fun always happens with this group and its loveable and much loved Master. While we never see the faces of the ninjas, the eyes are very expressive. Young children will long to become ninjas after reading any of the Dojo Daycare picture books. With Halloween the next big holiday for kids, ninja may well become a popular desire.


Dojo Surprise is a fun, birthday surprise for Masters and readers. The illustrations contain wonderful twists, which keep the story moving along nicely, while giving the reader a good laugh, at bedtime or during a read aloud story hour.

DOJO SURPRISE. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Chris Tougas. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books, Toronto, Canada / Berkeley, CA.

AmazonIndie BooksOwlkids Books

Find Dojo Surprise on Goodreads HERE.

Chris Tougas:  http://www.christougas.com/
Follow on Twitter          @NinjasRead

Owlkids Books:  https://us.owlkids.com/
Follow on Twitter          @owlkids 

Owlkids Books is a division of Bayard Canada.


Reprinted with permission from DOJO SURPRISE © 2016 by Chris Tougas, Owlkids Books, Illustrations © 2016 by Chris Tougas.

.Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

Dojo Surprise
by Chris Tougas
Owlkids Books 8/15/2016


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