Little, Brown. May 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316292900.
Gr 2-4–This is an autobiography of Rob Kearney and his career as a competitive weight lifter and body builder. It follows him from childhood, when he showed a prowess for super strength, doing a variety of sports from football to cheerleading before moving forward to adulthood where he begins to train for the Strongman competitions. Kearney’s story is inspiring as it shows how perseverance and tenacity are important traits for working towards goals. It is also a story about gender expression and identity. His personal style is celebrated and encouraged by his very supportive partner, Joey, who not only trains with him but always motivates him to be true to himself, from rainbow hair to floral and pastel training clothes. The book is also filled with facts about a sport that isn’t widely featured in children’s literature. For example, a diagram of all the necessary gear needed to train for the Strongman competition provides a visual element without distracting from the story’s narrative. The book is filled with relatable anecdotes and moments that readers can connect to; Kearney actually comes in last in one of the competitions. The illustrations are vivid and dynamic.
VERDICT This is an important and unique topic told in an engaging narrative style, featuring a little-known sport, a great athlete, and an even greater story of ultimate sportsmanship.

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