November 17, 2017

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Strong as Sandow by Don Tate | SLJ Review

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redstarTATE, Don. Strong as Sandow: How Eugen Sandow Became the Strongest Man on Earth. illus. by Don Tate. 40p. bibliog. notes. photos. Charlesbridge. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781580896283.

Gr 1-4 –Sparked by his own passion for bodybuilding and physical fitness, Tate recounts the story of Eugen Sandow (1867–1925) in this inspirational picture book. The biography begins during Sandow’s childhood in Prussia, where he used sports and exercise to develop from a frail, skinny child into a robust, physically active young man and later into a world-famous strongman in the United States, with his own successful business enterprise. The text progresses chronologically, with references to various geographic settings and specific historical events. Tate’s mixed-media illustrations feature characters, especially Sandow, with oversize, highly expressive faces. The muted colors are appropriate to the historical setting. The artwork is chock-full of humorous, cartoonish details that greatly enhance the story. In the afterword, Tate provides additional biographical information on both Sandow and himself. He includes a few simple exercises for kids and a well-developed bibliography. This title would be a good companion to Meghan McCarthy’s Strong Man: The Story of Charles Atlas, reinforcing the themes of physical fitness and the importance of healthy choices. VERDICT An excellent introduction to a historical figure that will appeal not only to children already interested in sports and fitness but also to those in need of encouragement.–Theresa Muraski, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2017 issue.

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