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Patti Stren.

New York Button, c1982.
Distributed by Clarke, Irwin.
unpaged, cloth, $12.95.
ISBN 0-525-35228-7.

Grades 3-7.
Reviewed by Ronald Jobe.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

A light-hearted ringer for child readers to wrestle with! After Rose's trapeze-artist parents missed the net at the circus, the book plunges into her unhappy school years with Aunt Sadie. BIG is a mountain of a problem when you're bigger than your friends and probably the biggest thing in the school! However, this led to Rose's being discovered by the school's wrestling coach, and her career as a professional women's wrestler was hammer-locked! Rose won her school meets easily, so after further training, she entered the wacky world of women's wrestlers. It is here that Stren's knowledge of children and their preferences in humour comes through. Rose takes on such ferocious challengers as "tough-talking" Tallulah and Lolla Lensky before finally defeating Desdemona Grunt to become the Ladies' Wrestling Champion of the World. As she meets the men's champion wrestler, Gardenia Gus, a challenge match is set up to decide who is really the best wrestler. Stren's love of detail is splendidly served by her visual-phrase writing style. This includes mouth-watering specifics of Gus's training menu as compared to Rose's rigid muscle-tone program as well as action-posed glimpses of the final wrestle.

In the big match, Gus, appearing to be getting the worst of it, heads for a corner, but as Rose reaches out to pull him back, his trunks slip down to reveal his birth-mark-an elephant on roller skates! Exactly the same as is on Rose's wrist! Brother and sister are happily reunited! The best wrestler? Why Rose of course!

Patti's zany character sketches march across the pages adding side comments that mimic the language of children, catch their humorous brashness, pun the protagonist, and extend the action splendidly as the text frequently tends to be rather flippantly brief. These expressive ink sketches, highlighted by pink and grey-black washes, are particularly effective when portraying the frantic ringside crowds yelling for their favourite wrestler.

Essentially this is a good fun book for children to enjoy, chuckle over, grunt with, and pin down!

Ronald Jobe, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
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