Review Detail

Kids Nonfiction 1049
A GREAT Biography
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)  
 
4.0
Learning Value 
 
5.0
When Cassius Clay was 12 years old, his brand new bicycle was stolen. When he went to report it to a police officer, he ended up in a local gym. There, Officer Martin told him that before he went to look to beat someone up about stealing the bicycle, he should learn to fight. Under Martin's wing, Cassius trained hard and eventually became a huge force in professional boxing.
Good Points
Vivid watercolors accompany this story of the outspoken and driven boy who because Muhammad Ali. While the story starts with information about Ali's boxing career, it segues nicely into his childhood and tells not only the story of his bicycle, but also of what life was like for African Americans during the 1950s and 1960s.

The page formatting varies between two page spread with text at the bottom, and pages with smaller illustrations separated by the text. Action words are printed in larger type, adding movement and interest to some pages. While this is not too lengthy to read aloud, it has enough information that this book is a good choice for older readers who want an overview of Ali's life without reading a longer biography.

Two pages of notes at the back of the book give more information about Ali's life, and there are a few photographs, which is a nice touch. There is also a brief bibliography.

An excellent choice for Black History Month, Muhammad Ali: A Champion is Born delivers an accessible story of a great man as a boy who is struggling to find his way, and does so successfully.
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