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Strong Man
ISBN: 9780553113549
Author: McCarthy, Meghan
Publisher: Dragonfly
Published: January 2015
Retail: $7.99    OUR PRICE: $1.99
     You Save 76%
Binding Type: Paperback
Annotation: Charles Atlas started out as a weakling who was bullied by the neighborhood kids, yet with a fitness regime and good eating habits, Atlas successfully transformed himself into "The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man."
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Sports & Recreation
Library of Congress Subjects:
Bodybuilders; United States; Biography; Juvenile literature.
Strong men; United States; Biography; Juvenile literature.
Dewey: 796.41092
LCCN: bl2014053099
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 1-2, Age 6-7
Book type: Easy Non Fiction
Target Grade: 1-2
Grade level: 1-2
Physical Information: 0.25" H x 25.00" L x 8.75" W
Bargain Category: Picture Books, Early Elementary, Biographies
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Meghan McCarthy is the author-illustrator of The Adventures of Patty and the Big Red Bus and Aliens Are Coming!, which was praised in a starred review in School Library Journal as, "a unique treatment of a fascinating topic, and sure to have wide appeal." She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #5)
America's first bodybuilding champion and fitness guru Charles Atlas entered the pop-culture lexicon with his own mythology, from his initial humiliation as a scrawny kid who got sand kicked in his face at the beach, to his fitness insight born of watching a lion stretch at the zoo, to later feats of strength such as tearing phone books in two and pulling a train with his bare hands. This new picture book gives readers context for the homage still paid to the folk hero, including Atlas's holistic approach to fitness that inspired so many young people of his era: "'Take charge of your life!'...'Eat right!' 'Make your bedroom attractive and clean.' 'In the morning, don't dillydally! Get up!'" McCarthy's narration is simple and light-handed, illustrated with cartoony acrylic paintings strengthened by definite black outlines. As in Aliens Are Coming! (rev. 7/06), McCarthy intersperses black-and-white vignettes among the color spreads to mimic archival news photos and television images, adding visual cues of the historical period and supplying an intermittent documentary feel -- though the guileless expressions on her oval-eyed figures keep the action immediate and accessible. An author's note admits that Atlas's surviving biographical details are more idealized than factual, but a page of suggested exercises for motivated young bodybuilders gives readers a concrete connection to Atlas's oversized legacy. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2007 June #2)

McCarthy (Aliens Are Coming! ) mines history in this profile of bodybuilder Charles Atlas. As a boy, Italian-born Angelo Siciliano arrives in a Brooklyn neighborhood of "Irish, Jewish, Polish, and Italian immigrants. Life on the streets was tough " for the puny lad. McCarthy pictures the quintessential moment when the "98 pound weakling" gets sand kicked in his face on the beach at Coney Island, although her onomatopoeic "Splat!" fails to convey sand's grit and the teasing bully in his Chaplin-era two-piece swimsuit is none too scary. Slender Angelo takes to admiring Greek heroes; inspired by watching a zoo's muscular lion, he develops his own fitness regimen. Before long, a friend compares him to an Atlas statue, bestowing "a new name for a new body!" McCarthy's acrylic portraits of Atlas emphasize big soulful eyes, a happy grin and ballooning muscles; a closing "Try It Yourself!" section recommends exercises for interested readers. Much is made of Atlas's being named "The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man," yet given his notable transformation, McCarthy's cartoonish portrayal hardly seems to do his accomplishments justice. Additionally the paintings of physical activity have a listless, static quality; the immobile characters barely appear to exert themselves. But the story of how Atlas inspired millions worldwide to live healthier lives is captivating in itself—eager readers can find additional historical details in a comprehensive endnote. Ages 5-8. (June)

[Page 59]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2007 July)

Gr 1–5— An entertaining introduction to a fitness guru and entrepreneur. Beginning with young Angelo Siciliano's arrival at Ellis Island, the book describes the scrawny Italian immigrant's boyhood in a rough Brooklyn neighborhood and-when he was older-the storied seaside encounter with a sand-kicking bully (witnessed by his date). Humiliated and determined to change his life, the young man decided to change his body. While at the zoo, he watched a lion stretch and noticed its muscles rippling beneath its skin. "Eureka!" He devised and followed an exercise routine that pitted one muscle against another, gradually becoming "Strong as an ox!" The rest of the book covers his new name (for his resemblance to a statue of Atlas), his success as a sideshow strongman and bodybuilder, his famed fitness course, and his emphasis on healthy living. An author's note makes it clear that Atlas's story has been much mythologized and that little is known about his private life. McCarthy cleverly makes the most of this, smoothly weaving facts, quotes, and dialogue balloons into a comic-book-like narrative that perfectly suits its subject. Similarly, the acrylic illustrations feature cartoon characters and appropriately over-the-top humor. One scene shows the skinny youth locked in a staring contest with a muscle-bound statue of Hercules, while another shows the pumped-up Atlas, goggle eyes bulging, straining to pull a train. This colorful book captures both the essence and mystique of an American icon.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

[Page 93]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.