The story of a picked-on kid who triumphs after judo lessons is an old one and Kraus ends this with the obligatory defense of preparedness--after graduating ""with honors"" Noel didn't have to fight the bullies because he knew and they knew that he could. The main variations are that Kraus makes Noel's father a coward too and a fellow student at the school (his mother, though, stays home to fuss over her new ""heroes"") and Aruego and Dewey make the family a trio of what seem to be baggy, free-form kangaroos. Kraus' best line: ""Noel and his father learned boxing, wrestling, judo, karate, kung fu, and dirty fighting. 'It often comes in handy,' said Charlie [the teacher]."" His worst line, you know already.