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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

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This review consists of two parts: 1. My daughter's review (she's 9) and 2. My review (the Mom). These are excerpts. For the full review visit us at our website, Mother Daughter Book Reviews.


What I liked and disliked about it:

I liked that the story is like a mystery because you don't know who the bad guy is. I thought Mrs. Gillespie was the evil person but I was surprised by who it was. I will never think of grandparents being boring again because what if my grandparents are Ninja Nans and Sidekick Grandads?

I thought that it was weird that almost all the characters - especially the older ones - were ninjas. I thought the secret spy stuff was cool like the poop shoot which was a secret toilet entrance, the cane with the sleeping gas, and the ninja knitting needles. Also, I really liked that it gets to the good part really quickly.

There was nothing I didn't like about the book - it was really good and I really enjoyed it.

My bottom line:

I loved this book and I would recommend it to both boys and girls who are 5 years and older.


What I liked and disliked about it:

This was a clever, exciting, and amusing little book to read to my kids. It was a short and fast read, but there is a mystery and many twists and turns in the plot. The book is written from the perspective of a young boy, Ben and I particularly enjoyed his detailed surveillance notes. It was quite entertaining. Here is an example:

10.34 Have lost the old croon. Last seen heading east off Sycamore Lane, down Petunia Rise.

11.02 Spotted, Mrs Gillespie leaving Mrs Chang's house, number 5, Honeypot Grove.

11.05 Suspect back indoors.

The thing I liked the most was the positive portrayal of the elderly/older people in the neighborhood as able-bodied, intelligent, and capable. Given the aging demographic in developed countries (i.e., there are more elderly people and this will continue to be the trend), I think it's important to provide opportunities for older people to be portrayed in a positive light especially when this can be done in children's literature. Oh, and a bit of the cool factor doesn't hurt either!

Like my daughter, I really liked the creativity of the author with regards to the fancy ninja tools. My favorite was definitely the poop-shoot although if they ever invent anything like that, I hope they can use a different receptable! It was a very imaginative and original story with lots of colourful characters. It certainly got my attention right away and it was maintained throughout the book.

Just a couple of points worth mentioning. While I did say that I liked the portrayal of the older people in the book, there was a bit of language being used by the boys that was derogatory (e.g., "the old croon", "old fogies", "gang of old timers"). On some level, I understand why it is used (i.e., to show the change in attitude toward the older people by the two boys), but I must admit it made me cringe having to read it aloud to my kids.

When the boys are captured by "the bad people", they are threatened with death. Specifically, the boys are told that they will be killed. That seemed a bit heavy for this book. If the threat had been a bit less extreme, I would be more comfortable recommending it to slightly younger children. That being said, the older people are ninjas! I suppose it all fits in together.

My bottom line:

Despite the two issues I raised, my kids and I all really enjoyed this book - it was a great mystery and thriller. I would recommend this book to kids aged 6+.

*** This book was provided to us free-of-charge by the author. Thanks! ***
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Ben and Kiernan are packed off to Nan and Grandad's for the summer holidays and they aren't too happy about it. Older brother Kiernan has become distant from Ben, (as can happen with older brothers), and either teases or ignores Ben. Nan and Grandad are perfectly nice, but pretty boring. The neighborhood is populated exclusively by older individuals and couples, so there are no other kids around. You look at this setup and wonder just how interesting a book you're likely to get out of it. Well, it doesn't take too long for the pace to pick up, and then the book zips along ending up with a couple of nice resolutions.

Ben is our narrator. He's pretty alert and it starts to look to him like things aren't as placid in the old Honeypot Grove neighborhood as he first believed. There are strange goings-on, furtive late night movements, odd behavior, and unusual activity. (MILD SPOILERS?) It's probably not giving anything away to tell you we are talking secret agents and skullduggery here.

There are a number of things that especially recommend this book. Eventually Kiernan gets caught up in the adventure and he and Ben become teammates and partners. So, instead of dreary sibling rivalry we get much more of a gung ho boy's own adventure with two agreeable brothers. That's much more satisfying. The plot is silly, but not frantic-zany silly, which some authors seem to feel is necessary to keep a young reader's attention. This one is implausible and over the top, but so are most superspy movies. The old people are spry, smart and resourceful. There is some initial whinging by Ben about old fogies, but that blows by pretty quickly. There are some very smart and creative moments. The spy equipment scene is a funny send up of the old "Q" scenes from the Bond movies, and there is some snappy dialogue. That said, this is still aimed at younger readers, so everything is a bit shallow and you have to take a lot of the plot on faith. But plot and plausibility aren't the point here; adventure and fun is the goal, and for an early reader it seems to me that this book would have a lot of appeal.

Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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on 17 July 2011
The tille of the book intrested my children they wanted to know if thier Nan was a Ninja Nan. It was a cold and windy night when I sat the children down in front of the fire to read to them from the book. Within a few chapters I could see that they were really into the story.I saw thier faces glow with excitment as the followed the adverture.This is a wonderful childrens story and one I'm sure will give a lot of pleasure to children of all ages. The book is well written,and keeps the childrens attention throughout the adventure.
The Kids are already asking can they have number 2?
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on 26 February 2012
If you think being sent to stay with your grandparents for the summer holidays is boring, then think again - especially if your grandparents are anything like Ben's. Can you really be sure what your Grandad does in his shed when he says he's potting up petunias or sorting out old paint tins? Maybe you should check to see if his shed is actually hiding a hi-tech control centre from where Grandad runs a government spy network. And as for your Nan, just you watch out for her kung-fu slipper-throwing skills. You have no idea what old people really get up to when you're not looking ... until you've read this book, that is!
I can't wait to read the sequel to find out what happens next time Ben goes to stay with his Ninja Nan and Sidekick Grandad, but I can be sure it will be a great adventure.
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on 29 December 2011
...is surprisingly easy, since Matheron has concentrated on including aspects of Adult behaviour and idiosyncrasies that cross the age divide so that reading Ninja Nan and Sidekick Grandad to your children will get you into the story as much as it will your little ones.

Matheron obviously has a knack for writing children's stories, and her love of quip and cheek make this a terrifically enjoyable read from start to finish.

A sound moral base, an injection of humour, and a propensity for the delightfully absurd make this title a welcome first rung on the ladder for a new, talented author in Matheron. Buy it!
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on 14 December 2011
I have a copy of this great book and have read it twice to my Niece and Nephew (4yrs+)

I don't normally leave feedback on here but I thought I should this time as (for a debut) this new author clearly has a natural gift for creating original children's stories.

This book is a perfect length that will keep the interest of even the most easily distracted child and will stimulate and excite their imagination.

Hopefully many more adventures of 'Ninja Nan' are in the pipeline; i'm sure with such a hit as this, a merchandise range can't be far away. Can thoroughly recommend.
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on 8 January 2014
Well written story for all ages - adults beware don't read this in public as you will probably have a silly grin on your face!! I am sure all adults can visualize some of the characters from their own childhood. Such an imagination from the author -read these books to your children or grandchildren or even someone else's children and you get to enjoy it again and again!
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on 5 December 2011
As a grandad who loves his vegetables, I feel a real affinity on Ben. With Christmas coming up, Ninja Nan and Sidekick Grandad will make an terrific present for all ages! Go for it ... enjoy Annaliese's fun tale.
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on 23 May 2012
Our family household has purchased this book as we have several children that are in or coming up to the recommended age bracket for this book. It keeps the children busy and when the children want to read the book again, this is when you know your onto something. The book has a great story line that children can relate to and there is also lots of kids humour added to it. There seems to be a series that is slowly forming which is great news.

Also I have just found out that this book is up for an award, which speaks volumes:


I fully recommend a purchase of this book for 8 to 12 year olds and vote for it too. This will encourage the author to contiune the series.
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on 5 December 2011
A must read! This book is funny and full of adventure. I wish I had a grandparents like that! I laughed like a maniac as the story developed and I could easily picture myself at nan's house; a place full of old people and their secrets. Annaliese Matheron has a skill to tell the story with humor and yet keep it so believable that no wonder all the little girls and boys that have read it will never see their grandparent's the way they used to.
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