Friday, September 21, 2007

Strong Man: The Story of Charles Atlas, by Meghan McCarthy

This picture book biography tells the transformation of a small, skinny, Italian immigrant named Angelo Siciliano into Charles Atlas, “The World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man.” Yes, Angelo really did get sand kicked in his face by a bully but with determination, ingenuity and hard work, he became strong and muscular. After watching a lion stretching at the zoo, he developed a fitness routine that built muscles as he stretched.At the suggestion of friends, he took a new name to go with his new body.
Atlas developed a course that not only would build muscles but encouraged his pupils to live a healthy life-style.Meghan McCarthy’s thick acrylic paint illustrations add humor and a cartoon-like quality to this work.At the end of the book, McCarthy illustrates four fun exercises for children to do daily. In her author’s note, McCarthy tells us other tidbits from Atlas’ life, many of which take on an exaggerated quality like those of a tall tale character.

Grades K-5


Brucie said...

This is a new offering from the author who gave us Aliens Are Coming! The True Account of the 1938 War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast. I have the same problem with this one that I did with last year's title: the illustrations. They are cartoon-type pictures, but I just can't deal with the large googly eyes. And while I found the story fascinating, I wonder if kids who have never seen the Charles Atlas ads will appreciate it. Has anyone used it with students?

Kimmels said...

Second. With our contemporary focus on weight loss and physical fitness in young children, I think this true story has new relevance. The author did a good job providing a well rounded look at Atlas including his immigrant past and his interest in healthy eating and clean living.

croneh said...

I love the fact that he is STILL considered the "world's most perfectly developed man". Maybe it's a lack of steroids!

I was also surprised that he was the human model for several well know statues across the US, includeing the beautiful Thomas Jefferson at the memorial in DC! Yep, apparently that was Charles Atlas' body!