ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘The Karate Kid: The Classic Illustrated Storybook’ from Quirk Books

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid: The Classic Illustrated Storybook is a children’s book published by Quirk Books based on the film of the same name from Robert Mark Kamen and John G. Avildsen, with illustrations by Kim Smith. This book is the latest installment of Quirk Books Pop Classics line which reimagines many classic movies and TV shows for a younger audience. The Karate Kid: The Classic Illustrated Storybook features the same story beats of the original 1984 movie but in a delightful age-appropriate children’s picture book.

The story follows Daniel who has recently moved to California. Being the new kid on the block can be tough and unfortunately, Daniel finds himself being targeted by a group of bullies from the Cobra Kai dojo. After being saved by his neighbor Mr. Miyagi, Daniel begins taking karate lessons in order to train for an upcoming tournament where he plans to face his Cobra Kai bullies again. Though Mr. Miyagi’s training is anything but orthodox as Daniel finds himself washing cars, sanding decks, and painting his house. However, Daniel quickly learns there is more to Mr. Miyagi’s training than meets the eye and that karate is far more about control, balance, and self-discipline than it is fighting.

I’ll admit, I have not watched The Karate Kid in a while but the story is hard to forget. Recently, more and more classics are being adapted in this manner. As a child, I had every Disney movie imaginable in Golden Book format and considering the recent trend of nostalgia, it’s no wonder this series of books exist.

The Karate Kid is a franchise that has stayed with people because of its messages of patience, kindness and hard work. This is also why it translates so well into a children’s book. Daniel’s character arc works well in this format and I think a lot of children will relate to his initial confusion.  Additionally, Smith’s illustrations are a delight. The color palette of the book is much brighter than the original film but that ok considering this is a children’s book. It is very approachable, lively, and colorful art that will be deeply appealing to children. The quality of the book itself is also fantastic. The jacket is removable and the art is featured on the hardcover as well.

Sharing stories of the past is part of human history and considering the deep love for all things from the 1980s and 1990s books like this are a treasure for millennial parents or even just collectors. While I myself am not a parent, I do buy Golden Books and a whole plethora of goodies for my nieces and nephews based around characters and franchises I love so I understand the appeal. My only caveat with the book is the price tag is a little high but if this is a franchise you love, it is worth it. Overall, this book is an excellent way to introduce children to more adult stories and franchises.

The Karate Kid: The Classic Illustrated Storybook is available in book stores and online everywhere May 7, 2019, for $18.99.

The Karate Kid: The Classic Illustrated Storybook


Overall, this book is an excellent way to introduce children to more adult stories and franchises.

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