This brief biographical sketch of the late boxer Muhammad Ali highlights his sports personality and activism.
Cassius was confident from a young age, this book tells readers. When someone stole his bike, he told a police officer he wanted to face the thief. The officer suggested Cassius take boxing classes, and he did. With speed as his secret weapon, he dominated the junior boxing scene, winning an Olympic gold medal in Rome. From there, he went on to train for the world heavyweight championship. “To tease his opponents, Cassius often used rhymes, describing how he was going to win. Some thought it was trash-talk, but it sounded like poetry…and it worked!” Dedicated spreads show Ali’s victory against Sonny Liston, his speaking up for African-Americans’ rights, his conversion to Islam and name change, his conscientious objection to the Vietnam War and the professional consequences he suffered because of it, his amazing comeback, and his charity work toward the end of his life. Playful, stylized cartoon illustrations of people with curved limbs and round lips center Ali, often pictured as an oversized figure, surrounded by scenes that influenced him and groups representing the many people he influenced.
An amazing life effectively condensed into picture-book form, this makes a nice introduction to the greatest. (historical note, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)