Strongest Man in the World: Louis Cyr

Overview


Strongman and circus owner Louis Cyr captured the world’s imagination with his remarkable feats of strength and mammoth proportions. Set in Quebec at the turn of the 20th century, this visual biography features the celebrity in his old age, recalling his glory days for his young daughter. In vivid detail he recounts his adventures traveling through Europe performing feats of strength that astounded audiences and remain unsurpassed today. Nicholas Debon’s vibrant illustrations and moving text bring the world of ...
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Overview


Strongman and circus owner Louis Cyr captured the world’s imagination with his remarkable feats of strength and mammoth proportions. Set in Quebec at the turn of the 20th century, this visual biography features the celebrity in his old age, recalling his glory days for his young daughter. In vivid detail he recounts his adventures traveling through Europe performing feats of strength that astounded audiences and remain unsurpassed today. Nicholas Debon’s vibrant illustrations and moving text bring the world of circuses and celebrities from long ago to life for young readers.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Debon (Four Pictures by Emily Carr)again employs the graphic-novel format, this time in a robust recounting of famed Canadian circus strongman, Louis Cyr. The story begins toward the end of the brawny performer's career as his health is failing. A conversation with his young daughter, Émiliana, prompts him to recall his life, starting with his Québec boyhood. "In this tough world of ours, a man without strength is nothing," he remembers his grandfather and mentor saying. The chronological reminiscences, bound within orange text boxes within the panels, highlight major milestones of Cyr's life, such as when he lifts a huge draft horse as a teenager or when he founds his own circus. Émiliana's questions and memories ("Isn't it true that you arrested six dangerous bandits and carried them all off to jail at once??!") propel the narrative and keep it flowing smoothly between Cyr's flashbacks and the present father-daughter conversation. A limited palette of gray, beige and peach hues showcases the vigor of the illustrations, which include roughly shaded muscles on angular subjects and white hatch marks to denote motion, emotion and perspiration. While endnotes offer concrete biographical information, intriguing trivia is scattered throughout the story (Cyr's mother stood at over six feet tall). A thoroughly absorbing tale about a turn-of-the-20th-century celebrity. Ages 7-up. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5
In this graphic-novel-style biography, turn-of-the-20th-century strongman Cyr looms appropriately large in the circus tent. The story of his life, starting with his early feats of strength as a young man and ending with his retirement, is told through Cyr's imagined voice as he shares the details with his young daughter. Through both artwork and text, Debon re-creates the world of the circus in the early 1900s, and endpapers show a variety of real-life circus heroes and spectacles. The folk-style illustration panels, often complemented by full-page paintings, move the story forward and place it firmly in its historical period. A short afterword, accompanied by photographs of Cyr and his family, mentions that some of the strongman's records remain undefeated. This title is likely to be popular with fans of the "Graphic Biographies" series (World Almanac Library), as well as readers drawn to a true story told in sequential style.
—Alana AbbottCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
An air of Gallic melancholy tinges this graphic-style, fictionalized memoir. Cyr, a Quebecois circus performer of the late-19th century, whose feats of strength still are seldom equaled, looks back from the twilight of his career to the training and encouragement received as a child from a stern grandfather, and then the rise to worldwide fame for such exploits as lifting massive rocks, a draft horse and even a platform holding no fewer than 18 audience volunteers. Rendered in subdued browns, the small but legible panels depict a bulky, gentle man with downcast eyes, surpassing rivals and wowing crowds but always looking as if his mind were elsewhere. From Cyr's commentary, readers will come to understand that there was technique as well as strength in his art, and the author closes with a value-added thumbnail history, with photos, of Cyr and of sideshow acts in general. A memorable glimpse into the life of a different sort of athlete. (Graphic nonfiction. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888997319
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2007
  • Pages: 36
  • Sales rank: 991,563
  • Age range: 7 - 6 Years
  • Lexile: GN630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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