A series of karate moves is described and demonstrated by a goat kid.
Before laying out the stances, kicks, punches, and blocks, Karate Kid opens with the beginning steps of a karate class. All of the English karate-specific vocabulary is accompanied by the Japanese translation in parentheses: “belt (obi).” Karate Kid then goes through the positions, each given its own two-page layout that describes and illustrates the move. Some, such as a position the text labels the “Horse-Riding Stance,” have clear explanations; others, like the “Back Kick,” are harder to follow due to missing details or the simple challenge of depicting a moving action on the page. Chambers’ illustrations show Karate Kid against a plain, bold background, donning his uniform, and showing the moves. While he’s certainly a cute character with his headband and beard, it’s hard to make sense of moves that describe things like pinched fingers when goats have hooves. A very helpful note for caregivers expanding on the martial art comes on the last page of the book, which means that the explanations of the words, moves, and concept of karate come after readers have largely finished making sense of the book. Due to the occasionally unclear explanations and illustrations, this is best for readers who are already familiar with the sport.
A nice homage to karate but not a worthy teaching tool. (Picture book. 4-7)