How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals

( 1 )


What does it take to win eight gold medals?

Napping away three summer vacations?

Eating enough broccoli to fill the back of a pickup truck?

Swimming the length of the Great Wall of China three times?

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What does it take to win eight gold medals?

Napping away three summer vacations?

Eating enough broccoli to fill the back of a pickup truck?

Swimming the length of the Great Wall of China three times?

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Swimming champ Phelps provides a playful account of what his preparation for the Beijing Olympics entailed. The text jumps from one analogy to the next, beginning with the six years he trained: "That's a kindergartener's whole life! That's the same as 42 dog years!" Some comparisons wow more than others, as when Phelps equates the 12,480 miles he swam while training to swimming the full length of the Great Wall of China three times ("Perfect! Now do it two more times," says his coach in the accompanying illustration, which shows the Great Wall as a pool that zigzags across mountains into the distance). Humorous but less compelling spreads demonstrate the time he spent napping during these training years. Many of the comparisons are downright silly, including the one that inspires the book's title, in which Phelps tallies the number of dinosaurs he could hypothetically leg-press in a single workout (nine tons worth). Debut illustrator Jenkins's digital cartoons comically mine this and other quirky references, depicting Phelps as a cheerful, larger-than-life caricature. Sports fans with a love of statistics should be both amused and impressed. Ages 4-8. (June)

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School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—A champion at the 2008 Beijing Olympics explains the training schedule that allowed him to accomplish the first-of-its-kind feat of winning eight Olympic gold medals. Comparisons are made that put miles swum, naps taken, calories eaten, weights lifted, etc., into a context that youngsters might more easily understand. For example, his six years of training (from 1998 to 2003) are described as "a kindergartner's whole life!" or "the same as 42 dog years!" Digitally rendered artwork humorously depicts the action, making the book visually appealing. The author states, "I got so strong from training that my legs could press 300 pounds 60 times in one workout. That's 18,000 pounds total, or nine tons! I could leg-press a Tyrannosaurus Rex and 10 velociraptors!" The illustration shows the smaller dinosaurs piled atop a T. rex on a platform while Phelps lifts them all with a leg-press machine. (However, the picture doesn't explain that he couldn't really lift that amount of weight all at once.) Providing an overview of an Olympian's rigorous preparations, this picture book may be useful for parents or coaches attempting to inspire children.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
The titular T. Rex only puts in a cameo but readers will still be wowed as super-swimmer Phelps recaps the six-year regimen that put him in shape to win a record eight Golds at the last Summer Olympics. He livens his recitation of laps and reps considerably with comparisons-"I trained for six years! That's a kindergartener's whole life! That's the same as 42 dog years!"-and after swimming 17 races in nine days to reach the finals won the 100-Meter Butterfly by 1/100th of a second: "about the length of a fingernail." In blocky digital paintings Jenkins stacks up pizza boxes, whole sports teams, Washington Monuments and herds of dinosaurs to back up the claims about distances run, calories consumed and weights lifted, and closes with a view of the athlete lounging on a sofa, holding a bowl of broccoli and thinking up new goals. (Perhaps appropriately for the audience but possibly compromising the book's timeliness, the athlete's suspension for smoking pot goes without mention.) Motivational and self-aggrandizing, like most of its ilk, but not too heavy-handed with the Message. (Informational picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416986690
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/2/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 366,671
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Phelps is an American swimmer. He holds the record for winning the most gold medals (8) in a single Olympics (2008). He has won 16 Olympic medals, 14 gold and two bronze. He holds seven world records and has over 20 World Championship medals. After returning home from Beijing in 2008, Michael used the well-publicized $1 million dollar Speedo bonus to start the Michael Phelps Foundation through which he hopes to encourage children to lead healthy, active lives, and to continue to grow the sport of swimming. He now resides in Baltimore, MD with his dog Herman.

Ward Jenkins is an illustrator and animator. His first picture book was How to Train with a T-Rex and Win Eight Gold Medals by Michael Phelps. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two children.

Alan Abrahamson is an award-winning sportswriter and a recognized authority on the Olympics. In 2006, he left the Los Angeles Times, where he had been a staff writer for 17 years, to write for the NBC suite of online properties, which now includes, and Since 2003, Alan has also served as a sports and Olympic analyst on NBC's television networks. Among other honors, Alan won the 2002 National Headliner Award for sports writing and was named the Los Angeles Press Club's 2004 sports journalist of the year. Alan and his wife, Laura, and their three children live in Southern California.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 17, 2009

    Phelps is an excellent role model and a real American hero!

    This book is great! My son is a huge fan of Michael Phelps, and this is a wonderful book that explains how hard Phelps had to work to win 8 gold medals. This book does a fantastic job of presenting math and numbers to kids. Phelps presents the information in a fun and informative way, ensuring kids can relate to the facts, and can see real world applications for math. My son and I met Phelps during his book signing tour back in December, ("No Limits: The Will to Succeed") and the way Phelps treated my son and all the other kids proved that he is an excellent role model and a real American hero. I am pleased that he wrote this children's book, giving fans of all ages the chance to appreciate what a superstar he truly is.

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