The Quest for the Crystal (LEGO Ninjago: Reader #14)
A 32 page segue to chapter books, this story is dense with text without being overwhelming in length. There are tone and situation-appropriate images featured on every page, which look to be taken as 3D still-shots straight out of a Ninjago episode. Themes of friendship, loyalty, discipline, and teamwork are threaded throughout. A poem-like riddle toward the middle presents a prose reprieve that may spark a different thought process in young readers.
While there is some recap to events, the storyline didn’t feel as though it stood alone especially well. Even those already familiar with Ninjago may be a little confused over the crew’s current predicament. By the second page in we learn that Cole is a ghost—though it isn’t explained why he’s in this non-corporeal state, or how much that actually limits his ability to participate in the quest at hand. We are told that the evil Morro has (at some previous point) come to inhabit Lloyd’s body, but not how or why this has occurred.
If you have a child who isn’t well-versed on the Ninjago universe, this may not be the best starting point in the series. But the action runs high and the vocabulary is encouragingly diverse. Kids will likely find this one hard to put down until they reach the end—which will only propel them onward, as it leaves just enough up in the air.