The champ! by Anh Do

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Well-known Australian children’s author Anh Do has written a new book to join his very popular Wolf Girl, Sky Dragon, Ninja Kid and E-Boy series already in print. For those children who love sport and competition, The Champ contains similar themes to the other books but has a focus on many things sport related.

Summer and her older brother Carl have lost their parents in an accident and must look after themselves. Carl excels at sport but Summer struggles with any sort of physical activity until one day something mysterious happens and life for Summer and Carl changes in an instant. A strange purple light appears and the house the children live in is badly damaged. Flaming purple goop showers Summer and then she is knocked out by falling bricks and timber. She awakes in a hospital and while she in not badly injured her older brother Carl is. He has lost the use of his legs and will need to rely on a wheelchair for mobility. While he remains in hospital, Summer discovers she has amazing sporting powers and strength.

Summer is keen to test her new sporting and physical abilities at the local fair she attends with her best friend, Wilbur, and wins two tickets to the Gladiator Games. She takes Carl and while he does not want her to compete, Summer goes against his wishes, and dresses in disguise to take on the robot, Gemini. Needless to say, Summer excels but has come under the radar of the dreaded People’s Services who enter the arena. She escapes from them but must now be careful. Carl decides that Summer should use her new powers for good and help those in danger especially against the evil librarian who is terrorising the city.

This book has plenty of fast-paced action to keep the reader engaged. With illustrations throughout and highlighted key words, this book will appeal to those middle grade readers who respond well to the use of visuals to break up the number of words on the page.

Themes: Sport, Gladiator Games, Family, Secret Police, Danger.

Kathryn Beilby