Part of the Kid Legends series
By David Stabler
Illustrated by Doogie Horner
Available now from Quirk Books
The duo behind KID PRESIDENTS is back with KID ATHLETES. One great thing about them moving into sports is that they can highlight a diverse range of inspirational people. As great as the presidents are, only one of them isn't a white man. The people chosen for KID ATHLETES range from reigning gymnastics Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas to sumo legend Jesse Kuhaulua (Takamiyama Daigoro). There's a nice blend of current competitors and historical figures as well as a variety of sports represented.
The stories are kept short and simple. I wasn't familiar with any of them, but I'm not a sports fan. I found Jackie Robinson's childhood particularly interesting. Each chapter ends with some career highlights, so I was sad that Billie Jean King's didn't mention the Battle of the Sexes. Doogie Horner's sketch-like illustrations add a huge amount of appeal to KID ATHLETES. They're very cute and give the book a personality beyond biography for kids.
I think KID ATHLETES would make a fantastic gift for any child interested in sports. Not surprising, since Quirk Books has the books-that-make-great-gifts market cornered. The biographies presents aren't particularly special, but the figures highlighted are truly interesting people and the presentation hits the sweet spot between bright and adorable.
I passed my copy onto my niece, who is in the second grade, because I thought she might enjoy it. She's pretty athletic herself and does competitive dance. She's been reading one biography a night and has one left to go. When I took her out for breakfast this Sunday, she was excited to tell me how much she was enjoying the book. She's also been reading parts of it out loud to my nephew, who is in Kindergarten and was MVP of his touch football team. He likes it too! There's definitely a range of appeal.