|Slamdown Town (Slamdown Town)
Author: Nicoll, Maxwell
A birthday wish and vintage chewing gum transform eleven-year-old Ollie into wrestler Big Chew, which might win back his older brother's respect but destroy his friendship with best friend Tamiko.
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Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 516678
Kirkus Reviews (10/15/19)
School Library Journal (11/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/01/2019 In a tale that carries all of its themes and life lessons on its sleeve, 11-year-old Ollie gains insight into what it means to be a good friend and brother after acquiring a used wad of bubble gum that transforms him into a hulking pro wrestler whenever he chews it. Happily, the authors rescue what would otherwise be an earnest, values-driven exercise in telling, not showing, by positively packing in hilarious caricatures and wild, exciting wrestling action. Ollie's brother Hollis has turned into the worst sort of eighth-grader who wants nothing to do with him, so Ollie relies on ultrasmart, ultramotivated best friend Tamiko to join him every Saturday at seedy Slamdown Town Arena to watch Werewrestler defeat all comers—often by cheating. Will anyone ever be able to give Werewrestler the smackdown he deserves? The gum offers Ollie a golden opportunity if only he can resist becoming so obsessed with his new skills that he, in turn, alienates everyone. A surprise ending adds extra crunch to the climax. Finished art not seen. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2020 Gr 3–6—Ollie is a small, white kid who has wrestling in his blood. His mother was once a pro wrestler who was on her way to stardom when Werewrestler (actual name), cheated and stole a major victory from her. Because of this fateful event, she is now an overworked, underpaid referee at Slamdown Town, the local wrestling arena. His mother is, for lack of other words, miserable, and Ollie can relate. Being a sixth grader isn't going very well. He daydreams too much, and his big brother, Hollis, tortures him regularly. Ollie wishes he could hang Hollis from the roof by his tighty-whities. His whole world changes when Ollie discovers a piece of gum that, when chewed, transforms him into a towering, muscle-bound, lean, mean, wrestling machine. Entering the ring as "Big Chew," Ollie's only mission is to defeat the Werewrestler in his mother's honor. Despite the description of captivating costumes and amazing signature moves, this narrative is somewhat lacking. The plot lines are not very believable or logical. VERDICT Readers who don't mind formulaic text might stick with this one. However, with its length, the reluctant reader will likely lose interest quickly. Not recommended.—Amy Caldera, Dripping Springs M.S., TX - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.