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Gridiron: Stories from 100 Years of the National Football League

S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Jul. 2020. 112p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781481481120.
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Gr 4-7–Bowen describes the history of the NFL, from its humble Ohio beginnings up to the 2019 Super Bowl. The text includes famous games, players, coaches, and events that helped shape the sport into the powerhouse it is today. Shorter chapters are divided into quarters, which help create an easy-to-follow, linear time line. Bowen’s words flow best when describing on-the-field action, making readers feel as if they’re watching the game in front of them. Ransome’s complex sketch and watercolor illustrations break up the text-heavy pages and often use double layouts. Back matter includes an index, a bibliography (consisting of books and articles but not any specific websites besides Pro Football Reference), and a list of athletes and coaches featured in the endpapers. The chapters briefly discuss racism, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the evolution of the NFL draft, and the West Coast offense. While there is enough substance within the text to be used for school reports, it might be difficult for younger readers to parse out the pertinent information amongst the fun anecdotes.
VERDICT A book for die-hard football fans who want to learn more about the NFL’s storied past. Purchase to supplement football-themed sections that heavily feature team-centric books.

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