Well regarded in its own right as a children’s book, this will particularly appeal to wrestling families.
It’s the first in a series of books set in the same street, though the only one dealing with wrestling. It was picked as book of the month by British TV channel CBBC and is listed as being aimed at 9-11 year olds, though I’d suspect it would be suitable for a wider range.
It tells the story of a father who secretly wrestles on a low-level British circuit at weekends accompanied by his son, who then enters him in a competition to find a new wrestler for WOW, a thinly disguised WWE.
At 200+ pages the story has a fair bit of depth for a young child’s book and goes into some sophisticated themes about body image, identity and self-worth. It’s also quite on the money when it comes to the wrestling element, celebrating its bombastic nature. While on the face of it it treats wrestling as a legitimate contest, I found it still made sense if you chose to imagine that in this world wrestling is a work but the father kept that secret from the son.
Special mention must go to the excellent illustrations by Sara Ogilvie, which are reminiscent of Quentin Blake while still retaining their own identity, and which are notably accurate to the precise detail of the text.
It’s definitely one to buy as a present for younger relatives, making sure to take a sneaky read yourself before handing it over.