Yes, I can

Sumo Joe

By Mia Wenjen, illustrated by Nat Iwata (New York: Lee & Low Books, 2019, 40 pp., $18.95, hard cover)

This is a quick, fun look at a young girl, Aikido Jo, who wants to join the “boy only place” where her brother Sumo Joe and his friends are wrestling. She challenges her brother to a match when she returns home from school.

The story introduces the reader to sumo wrestling and aikido, and includes a glossary of terms. During a sumo match, wrestlers use a variety of techniques that include pushing, shoving, slapping, throwing and grappling to knock each other down and out of the ring.

Aikido is a modern martial art that protects the attacker from injury by redirecting the attacker’s energy.

The illustrations and the rhyming text are charming. I think this would appeal to both boys and girls. Thumbs up.

“Sumo Joe” is geared toward students with a pre-K through fourth grade interest and a third grade readability. A free extensive 10-page Teaching Guide is also available on Lee and Low’s Website.

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