Sumo Joe

By Publishers Weekly

A sister eagerly wakes her big yet gentle older brother, “Sumo Joe.” As the girl leaves, Joe welcomes two friends to “practice sumo!” in “the ring” (pillows in a circle), each wrapped in a mawashi. Wenjen describes their sumo moves in straightforward rhymes: “Hands on knees,/ leg raised slow,/ practice shiko.” When the sister arrives home, she “wants to join/ boy-only place./ She’s not allowed/ in sacred space.” Joe hesitates (readers may bristle), but his sister breaks out her aikido skills: “Aikido Jo beats Sumo Joe!” Newcomers Wenjen and Iwata—who illustrates in a playfully expressive style—offer an affectionate story about good-natured sibling rivalry and refusing to be underestimated. Back matter includes an author’s note and an illustrated glossary relating to sumo and aikido.

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