Demolition Dad by Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie

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Demolition Dad by Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A wrestling story with heart. Funny and very, very readable!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781444013863

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Jake's dad is a wrestler. Nobody knows however, because Jake's dad also insists that Jake keeps it a secret, so that no one realises that come the weekend he leaves behind the demolition sites that he works on, puts on his spandex suit and enters the ring as 'Demolition Man'! But Jake is so proud of his dad that his alter ego can't remain a secret for long, and he sets about trying to change his dad's life through the world of wrestling.

This is such a readable book. I devoured it over a few lunchtimes at work, and when I finished, my eight year old daughter spent a day reading it straight through. The characters are immediately very engaging. I liked Jake a lot, and I enjoyed reading about his relationship with his dad. I also liked Jake's mum, who previously worked as an air hostess and is now a full time mum - when she tells the children bedtime stories they are stories from all the different places that she has travelled to around the world. The style of the writing reminded me a little of David Walliams, and also of Roald Dahl. There's silliness in there, and plenty to laugh over, but it's also quite moving in places.

The story sees Jake trying to better his dad's life, by secretly entering his dad into a world wrestling competition. Jake actually thinks this will make everyone's lives better, since not only will his dad be doing something he loves and gaining world-wide recognition, but also his mum will get to travel the world again, and Jake himself would get the warm glow from seeing his father revealing his wrestling talents. Things, as you can imagine, don't quite go according to plan, and this is actually an interesting story about what happens when you fail - an issue that I think is very important for children to learn. The book also deals with a family member's depression which again is an important topic, and I felt it was handled gently and sensitively. I felt quite moved as I read, and I liked the balance between silly humour and the more serious moments.

The drawings are fun, and the chapters are long enough to feel like a good chapter book, but short enough for bedtime reading sessions! The style is easy to read, and I enjoyed the range of characters, from Jake's best friends through to the local bully boy, along with the promoter of the wrestling (who made me laugh out loud with his inability to get the name of Jake's town right) and, of course, Jake's lovely dad. It's a sweet father-son relationship, and I think it's the sort of story that's attractive to boys but equally readable by girls.

You might also like to try The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams and Quentin Blake and Awful Auntie by David Walliams. We also have a review of Superhero Street by Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie.

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Buy Demolition Dad by Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Demolition Dad by Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Demolition Dad by Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Demolition Dad by Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie at


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