cover image Way of the Warrior Kid

Way of the Warrior Kid

Jocko Willink, illus. by Jon Bozak. Feiwel and Friends, $13.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-250-15107-0

Marc had a terrible year in fifth grade: he can’t swim or do pull-ups, doesn’t know his multiplication tables, and is being terrorized by school bully Kenny. But Marc’s uncle Jake, a Navy SEAL, will be spending the summer with Marc and his mother, and once he arrives, he begins training Marc to be a “Warrior Kid.” The training is both physical and mental, and chapters are dedicated to principles such as living by a code, early morning workouts, and discipline (“Discipline equals freedom” screams one page in giant capital letters). Marc embraces his uncle’s guidance, gets stronger, and starts sixth grade confident and able, even standing up to and reaching out to Kenny in a too-neat conclusion. Willink, a leadership instructor and retired SEAL, places worthwhile emphasis on physical activity, mental sharpness, and hard work. But Marc’s dismissal of his mother’s ability to help him because, “a lot of the time it seems she just doesn’t understand me” (in part because “she works a ton”) is a disappointing stereotype, and Bozak’s b&w line drawings don’t add much to the boy’s journey. More treatise than fully developed story. Ages 8–12. (May)