Ninjago Volume 5: Kingdom of Snakes

Ninjago Vol. 5LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu Volume 5: Kingdom of the Snakes
Written by: Greg Farshtey
Illustrated by: Jolyon Yates
Publisher: Papercutz
Format: Hardcover/Softcover, 64 pages, Full Color, $10.99/$6.99
ISBN: 978-1-59707-357-8/

Every generation seems to think (and say) that the current generation has it easier, doesn't appreciate what they have, and has never walked two miles uphill in the snow just to go to school. But the real question is "Why?" "Why does every generation think that the new generation somehow has it so much easier?"

With a career based in studying and reading comics and graphic novels I catch myself thinking about this "Why?" a lot. Today's generation of young readers does indeed have better comics and graphic novels then we ever did. As I read LEGO Ninjago: Kingdom of the Snakes I found myself feeling a little jealous of today's generations. I mean, come on, we had LEGOs. But we didn't have graphic novels that turned our LEGOs into personified, butt-kicking, ninjas teamed up on a quest to rid the world of the evil doings of the Kingdom of the Snakes!

A well-told and brightly-color-popping young adult graphic novel LEGO Ninjago: Kingdom of the Snakes jumps off the page as one of the ninjas, Jay, flies through one of the worst storms he has ever experienced. As his plane skids to stop at the edge of a cliff Jay finds himself in familiar territory: Ninjago. But this isn't the Ninjago he knows. Everything is different. There is no Ninjago team led by a Master of Spinjitzu named Sensei Wu. In fact, Cole, Zane, and Kai don't even know each other. Or Jay. Questioning himself and his sense of familiarity Jay has landed in an alternate Ninjago where Sensei Wu has not gathered the team together. In this alternate Ninjago it's more of an individual effort. Each ninja thinks he alone can conquer the Kingdom of the Snakes, and their self-inclined attitudes for glory are more than confusing to Jay.  

Will Jay be able to reunite, or even unite!, the team. Can he convince them that there is indeed no "I" in team?

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: Master of Spinjitzu Jay has never seen a storm quite like the one he is flying through right now. So when he lands his plane to a skidding stop right before a cliff he’s pretty thankful. The storm is starting to subside and he’s safely in Ninjago. But is he? This is an alternate Ninjago, and Sensei Wu has not organized a team of ninjas. Too self-consumed to believe Jay’s seemingly misguided and delusional information about a team of Masters of Spinjitzu led by Sensei Wu, his fellow ninjas are pretty certain that they alone can defeat the Kingdom of the Snakes.

Setting: Ninjago, an alternate Ninjago, Constrictai City

Major Characters: Jay, Kai, Cole, Zane, Sensei Wu, Bytar, army/members of the Kingdom of the Snakes, Garmadon, Pythor

Themes: Individualism and Teamwork, Good and Evil, Truth and Justice, Problem-solving, Mystery and Suspense, Motivation and Point of View

Traditional and Contemporary Literary Pairing Suggestions: Jeff Smith's Bone series, William Golding's Lord of the Flies, S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and/or Tom Sawyer, Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series, Louis Sachar's Holes, Royden Lepp and Rebecca Taylor's Rust, Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado's Giants Beware!, Doug TenNapel's Cardboard

Some Teaching Recommendations For Elementary and Middle School Readers

Suggested Alignment to the Common Core Standards:*
*Standard numbers correspond to the literal common core standards numbers, www.commoncorestandards.com

Key Ideas and Details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Lesson Idea for Elementary and Middle School Readers:
One of the most engaging elements of this series is its characters. Thus, this lesson will focus on character comprehension. Each character plays its own role in the overall plot, and in order to comprehend the complexity and popularity of this series as it moves from one small story to the next students need to understand each its character's own unique role.

After you read this graphic novelwork through the following enhanced and kinesthetically-based (K)now, (W)onder, (L)earn chart.

At each of your table groups you will find a bag of LEGOs. Use the LEGOs to answer each of the KWL questions. In other words, you can literally build your answers.

Know: After reading this graphic novel what do you know about each character?

Wonder: Thinking about future stories, what do you wonder about these characters? What adventures might happen next?

Learn: If you could write the next graphic novel in this series what would you want other readers to learn?

























































Each group - for each category - will get a chance to explain their answers. 

Katie Monnin, PhD, is an assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida and author of Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom (2010) from Maupin House. To learn more about Teaching Graphic Novels or Katie Monnin, please go to this link: http://www.maupinhouse.com/monnin.php.