Millbrook Press 2020

ISBN 9781541542419

48 pp. hardcover

Grades 4-6

Did you know ninja exist in nature? These ninja dress in scales spines, and exoskeletons. They soar, swim, and scramble through everything from shadowy forests to strange salty lakes to the ocean depths. And their spectacular skills rival those of the greatest ninjutsu masters. Read how science and nature meet martial arts in this fun and fast-paced look at a collection of truly incredible animals.

Reviews & Awards

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“‘To find these animal ninja…you must know where to look.’ That sentence ends a two-page introduction that gives a simple history and definition of human practitioners of ninjutsu (“the art of the ninja”) and invites readers to learn about animals that exhibit similar, extraordinary “skills.” The pages that follow offer fascinating facts, appealing design, and eye-catching illustrations…More than once, the text encourages emerging scientists by noting that this research is current and ongoing—and that the more scientists learn, the more there is to learn. Arigatou gozaimasu for entertaining enlightenment!” (Nonfiction. 9-14)

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Complete Bibliography

Although the back matter for Nature’s Ninja: Animals with Spectacular Skills is extensive, the amount of space available for bibliographic materials was limited. Below you’ll find a complete list of the sources I used in writing the book (in addition to personal communications with scientists) organized by chapter. I’ve taken the liberty of formatting each entry with the title first.  

Introduction  

  • Ninja is the preferred plural according to Merriam-Webster, although readers will likely encounter “ninjas” as well elsewhere.
  • My expert reviewer for all things ninja, 15th Dan Shihan Dr. Michael Asuncion, martial arts master and head of the Michigan Bujinkan Dojo in Ann Arbor, suggested that “the art of the ninja” is perhaps the most accurate translation of ninjutsu.   

Chapter 1   

Chapter 2   

Chapter 3   

  • “How sailfish use their bills to capture schooling prey.” P. Domenici , A. D. M. Wilson , R. H. J. M. Kurvers , S. Marras , J. E. Herbert-Read , J. F. Steffensen , S. Krause , P. E. Viblanc , P. Couillaud and J. Krause. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281, no. 1784 (June 7, 2014). https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.0444
  • “Proto-cooperation: group hunting sailfish improve hunting success by alternating attacks on grouping prey.” James E. Herbert-Read, Pawel Romanczuk, Stefan Krause, Daniel Strömbom, Pierre Couillaud, Paolo Domenici, Ralf H. J. M. Kurvers, Stefano Marras, John F. Steffensen, Alexander D. M. Wilson and Jens Krause. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283, no. 1842 (November 16, 2016). https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.1671
  • “Sailfish ‘slasher’ film sheds light on evolution of group hunting.” Science, November 1, 2016. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/11/video-sailfish-slasher-film-sheds-light-evolution-group-huntingThe Evolution of Lateralization in Group Hunting Sailfish.” Ralf H.J.M. Kurvers, Stefan Krause, Paul E. Viblanc, James E. Herbert-Read, Paul Zaslansky, Paolo Domenici, Stefano Marras, John F. Steffensen, Morten B.S. Svendsen, Alexander D.M. Wilson, Pierre Couillaud, Kevin M. Boswell, Jens Krause. Current Biology 27, no. 4 (February 20, 2017), 521-526. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.044
  • “Secrets of a sailfish attack.” ScienceNews, April 23, 2014. https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/wild-things/secrets-sailfish-attack
  • The evolution of lateralization in group hunting sailfish.” Ralf H.J.M. Kurvers, Stefan Krause, Paul E. Viblanc, James E. Herbert-Read, Paul Zaslansky, Paolo Domenici, Stefano Marras, John F. Steffensen, Morten B.S. Svendsen, Alexander D.M. Wilson, Pierre Couillaud, Kevin M. Boswell, Jens Krause. Current Biology 27, no. 4 (February 20, 2017), 521-526. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.044
  • “The soft power of sailfish bills.” Nature, April 23, 2014, https://www.nature.com/news/the-soft-power-of-sailfish-bills-1.15086    

Chapter 4  

Chapter 5 

Chapter 6 

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

 Chapter 9

 

Copyright © 2019 Rebecca L. Johnson