It’s all about the ninjas these days. This is a ‘Ninjago’ red ninja fire mech, oh yes it is. What exactly that is I’m not quite sure; the Ninjago world is something a little beyond me, though the boy is watching enough cartoons (“Masters of Spinjitsu”, I kid ye not) this week to give me an education. This is what all the kids are into now. You have to be careful not to plan too far ahead at Christmas time, not get too many things on the original list, because the list changes fast and there are all new things to add. All the endless ads and target catalogs don’t help, but mostly it’s guided by the trends in the kindergarten playground. Next week it’ll be something different. I remember being that age – it was all Star Wars, no Battlestar Galactica, no Mr Men, no Hammer House of Horror (honestly, we played that more than anything at our school).
Right now, Lego is the main thing, the super-hero sets mostly but now it’s Ninjago that fires the imagination. Kids love ninjas. I remember when the Turtles first appeared, a little bit after my time to be into them, but in England they weren’t called ‘Ninja’ Turtles. The were the “Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles”. Ninja was deemed too violent a word or concept. Eventually that changed. Ninjago is just Ninjago, but with added whole-point-is-to-sell-more-toy-sets commercialism which the kids lap up. So do the adults, they enjoy looking for and buying all these things every bit as much, don’t tell me they don’t. My son, he’s at the age where he really enjoys building the Lego sets from the instructions now, all those tiny little pieces. Lego is different from when I was a lad, smaller, more complicated, lose one miniscule piece and basically the whole thing may not work. I like to build them too, but mostly I like to draw them. This is another entry the sketchbook of in my son’s stuff, a Stillman & Birn Alpha book.