Published by Charlesbridge
Summary: As a skinny, frail child, Friedrich Mueller loved athletics, but frequently was too sick to play. Although he was a good student, he left university to join a circus where his career as an acrobat helped him get stronger. When the circus folded, Friedrich worked as an artists’ model and learned more about bodybuilding. At the age of 20, he changed his name to Eugen Sandow and launched his career as a showman. When he beat famous strongmen Sampson and Cyclops on a London stage, he became an overnight sensation, eventually traveling to America, where his performance at the Chicago World’s Fair increased his celebrity status. Back in London, he focused on helping others become physically strong and healthy. He held the Great Competition, the first organized bodybuilding contest, awarding a gold statue with his likeness, a version of which is still used today. Includes an afterword with more information, four exercises for kids to try, an author’s note about his own bodybuilding experiences, and an extensive bibliography. 40 pages; grades 1-4.
Pros: Humorous illustrations and lighthearted text combine to make this a fun biographical read.
Cons: The fact that Sandow died at age 58 makes me question his health advice.