Informative and thrilling, it’s like a Rocky movie for kids.

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SIMONE BILES

MAKING THE CASE FOR THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME

From the G.O.A.T.: Making the Case for the Greatest of All Time series

This detailed profile of Simone Biles argues that she is the greatest gymnast of all time.

What are the criteria for being the “greatest of all time” in a field? This book posits an answer to that question and makes a compelling argument for Simone Biles as the G.O.A.T. of women’s gymnastics. To be an elite athlete takes a level of focus, training, dedication, and talent that most people don’t have. To become the G.O.A.T. requires another level of all of these, and Blackaby details not only the mental toughness and flexibility that get the African American gymnast through her hours of training, occasional setbacks, and nerve-wracking competitions, but the tools needed to attain those mental skills. These include a sports psychologist, the right coach, tough decisions about other areas of her life, and supportive family who invested in her success. A brief chapter on Biles’ home life and family is followed by more detail about her years of training and competitions. The focus on how she kept moving toward her goal sustains readers’ interest to the last page. Easy-to-read type with large, pink subheadings and full-color photographs sprinkled through the pages make this small volume read like a magazine. It’s a pleasingly, uniquely humanizing lens on the price of success for one young athlete of international renown. A lengthy bibliography provides plenty of references.

Informative and thrilling, it’s like a Rocky movie for kids. (glossary, index) (Biography. 8-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4549-3206-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

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A splendid volume for young adventurers.

SURVIVOR KID

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WILDERNESS SURVIVAL

Based on her work with middle-school students, Long offers lessons on how to stay healthy and out of trouble while awaiting rescue, the same lessons taught to adults in her survival classes.

Her matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tone will play well with young readers, and the clear writing style is appropriate to the content. The engaging guide covers everything from building shelters to avoiding pigs and javelinas. With subjects like kissing bugs, scorpions, snow blindness and “How going to the bathroom can attract bears and mountain lions,” the volume invites browsing as much as studying. The information offered is sometimes obvious: “If you find yourself facing an alligator, get away from it”; sometime humorous: Raccoons will “fight with your dog, steal all your food, then climb up a tree and call you bad names in raccoon language”; and sometimes not comforting: “When alligators attack on land, they usually make one grab at you; if they miss, you are usually safe.” But when survival is at stake, the more information the better, especially when leavened with some wit. An excellent bibliography will lead young readers to a host of fascinating websites, and 150 clipart-style line drawings complement the text.

A splendid volume for young adventurers. (index not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976-708-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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A football fan’s treasure trove of magic seasons and moments.

THE GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAMS OF ALL TIME

Storied football teams are ranked and compared.

After an introduction that establishes the subjectivity of any sort of greatest rankings (“Because the only thing better than watching football is arguing about it afterward”) and defines the familiar-to-sports-fans acronym G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), this book sets out to build cases for which teams (and players) were the best. An unsurprisingly NFL–heavy book, the first chapter covers 20 top NFL teams season by season; this makes up roughly the first half of the book. The selected seasons range from 1940 (the Bears) to 2016 (the Patriots), with some franchises appearing more than once. Alongside narrative highlights of the team’s season, each set of two spreads includes sidebars covering impressive team statistics and interesting anecdotes (such as the first player to dump Gatorade on a coach, strange sports superstitions, and a prank involving an alligator in a shower). The second chapter breaks from the team focus to select individual NFL players at each position, and the third chapter branches out to single-season college teams (limited to 10, which is sure to disappoint readers from unrepresented college football towns). Then the book returns to the NFL with blurbs about the best year for each franchise, takes a break to highlight a single team from a handful of other leagues (including Canadian and a women’s league), before returning to the NFL for a collection of top-10 lists by team stats.

A football fan’s treasure trove of magic seasons and moments. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68330-072-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Sports Illustrated Books

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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