At Gleason's Gym

Overview

A KNOCKOUT OF A BOOK about the world's most famous gym.

"At Gleason's Gym the world works out. It's down on the Brooklyn waterfront just a left hook away from the Brooklyn Bridge." This spectacular book puts you smack in the middle of the action. But it's more than a book about boxing: It's about the heart of a community, and about the power of practice, perseverance, and staying true to yourself. Paintings, sketches and words by Caldecott Honor artist and former professional wrestler Ted Lewin are your guide to ...

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Overview

A KNOCKOUT OF A BOOK about the world's most famous gym.

"At Gleason's Gym the world works out. It's down on the Brooklyn waterfront just a left hook away from the Brooklyn Bridge." This spectacular book puts you smack in the middle of the action. But it's more than a book about boxing: It's about the heart of a community, and about the power of practice, perseverance, and staying true to yourself. Paintings, sketches and words by Caldecott Honor artist and former professional wrestler Ted Lewin are your guide to this extraordinary place.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Book World-May 11, 2008

Ted Lewin’s latest book is a gorgeous tribute in deep, rich watercolors to the place where boxing legends such as Muhammad Ali and Jake La Motta once trained. Located “just a left hook away from the Broklyn Bridge,” Gleason’s gym looks like a mixing bowl of the martial arts: “Kickboxers from Thailand, girl boxers, big, burly wrestlers.” As Lewin puts it at the start, “its everybody’s gym.” But its also one particular boys gym, as the book focuses on 9-year-old named Sugar Boy, who opens the big steel door and proceeds to get ready for his next bout. Lewin delivers knock-out, double-page scenes of boxers sparring, jumping rope and shadowboxing “with monsters in fun0house mirrors.” You can practically smell the sweat and- thanks to the sound effects artfully graffiti’d on various pages- hear the thump, thump of the heavy bags, the ratatatatatat of the speed bags and the buzz of the buzzer starting the round.-A.M.N.

Leonard S. Marcus
Lewin, who comes from a family of professional wrestlers, has the chops as a watercolorist and draftsman to convey the fever-pitch action in Gleason's, which occupies a sprawling loft near the Brooklyn Bridge. Boxing prowess may not be everyone's dream. But who would dispute Sugar Boy's father's larger goal for his son: "a good brain in a good body"?
—The New York Times
Abby McGanney Nolan
…a gorgeous tribute in deep, rich watercolors to the place where boxing legends such as Muhammad Ali and Jake La Motta once trained…Lewin delivers four knock-out, double-page scenes of boxers sparring, jumping rope and shadowboxing "with monsters in fun-house mirrors."
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

In both words and pictures, Lewin (I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler) effectively evokes the sounds, smells and action of Gleason's Gym, a celebrated boxing gym located "on the Brooklyn waterfront just a left hook away from the Brooklyn Bridge." The author sets the scene in fittingly staccato prose: "Heavy bags swing wildly. Speed bags blur. Start of a round. Squeak of soles on canvas, the music of the gym." World champions, including Muhammad Ali and Jake La Motta, have trained at this gym, which "builds bodies, confidence and courage." This place is "a mass of men, women, and kids dancing, bobbing, weaving and jabbing," among them nine-year old Sugar Boy, "the best little fighter around," who is training for the state Silver Glove championships. Under the watchful eye of his father, a professional fighter, this dedicated young athlete spars with a middleweight pro, shadowboxes around the ring, punches focus pads and engages in a three-round training session. The author concludes this visit on a satisfying note, as a caption underneath a portrait of a triumphant Sugar Boy explains that he went on to become a 2006 National Silver Gloves Champion. Lewin portrays the gym's goings-on in full-color paintings of varying clarity as well as in pencil sketches, a combination that gives the volume ample motion yet an inconsistent look. Still, aspiring fighters and youngsters with an interest in boxing will appreciate witnessing Sugar Boy's tireless training from ringside seats. Ages 5-9. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature
Through the training experience of Sugar Boy Younan, a Bantam Weight National Silver Gloves Champion, Lewin introduces us to the sights and sounds of Gleason’s Gym, where “the world works out,” the trainer of champions. We not only see the myriad activities of those from all over the world. We can hear the noises they make, and almost smell the sweat. Few words are needed. When it is Sugar Boy’s turn, he spars with his dad as he trains for the Nationals. Even girls are training there. Lewin’s brush strokes apply watercolors in nervous, tentative movements creating vital images always on the move. Frequent splashes of calligraphy for sounds like “thump thump” or “ratatatatat” add to the visual excitement. Double-page scenes display the multiple activities, while pages of black and white drawings focus on individual sparring and shadow boxing. All the pages project the energy that floods the gym. The boxing gear, the rings, and the punching bags, all add to the reality of the training. The naturalistically painted images are more effective than photographs in conveying information while evoking emotion. A glossary is included. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, N.Y., is a training place for boxers and wrestlers from all over the world including nine-year-old Sugar Boy Younan, who is preparing for the National Silver Gloves championship. With vibrant watercolors and a spare, almost poetic text, Lewin brings alive the hubbub of varied activities with all the different sights and sounds. Beginning with the title page's double-page spread showing the gym from the street, and then throughout the book, words like thump, tip tap and bzzzzzzzzz! are scrawled across the pictures. Along with the big, busy gym scenes are sensitive paintings of individuals and even pencil sketches. Lewin shows people of all ages, sexes, sizes and colors practicing, watching, teaching and helping: "It's everybody's gym." He emphasizes the excitement and the sheer joy: "THIS IS FUN!" Well-known for his portrayal of faraway places, Lewin returns to the world he described in I Was a Teen-aged Professional Wrestler (1993) to make this distinctive introduction for even younger readers. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596432314
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 1,370,954
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.89 (w) x 10.86 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Ted Lewin has written and/or illustrated at least 45 children's books. In order to finance art school, he became a wrestler--and so began a 15-year part-time career that eventually inspired his autobiography, I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler (ALA Notable Children's Book, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Booklist Editor's Choice). He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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