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LOU GEHRIG by David A. Adler


The Luckiest Man

by David A. Adler & illustrated by Terry Widener

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-15-200523-4
Publisher: Harcourt

The aw-shucks decency of Gehrig drives this picture-book biography from Adler (One Yellow Daffodil, 1995, etc.); what comes through is Gehrig as a genuine rarity, blessed with colossal athletic talent that he carried with dignity and modesty. The familiar story (no sources are given, but it follows the Gary Cooper movie, Pride of the Yankees, quite closely) is here: how Gehrig left college and signed with the Yankees to get money for his family; his remarkable, 14-year, 2,130-consecutive-game record; how he benched himself when he started to experience the effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; his farewell speech to Yankee fans (``I'm the luckiest man on the face of the earth''); his death at age 37 and the rain that fell on his funeral. Adler never overstates the adulation, which would sound hokey on anyone else's shoulders, but fits Gehrig snugly. Newcomer Widener's illustrations capture the texture of Gehrig's city and playing fields, although one spread—of Yankee Stadium in the rain— brings the book to a premature close (a dangling page of text follows). Readers will feel good after reading this biography—and maybe even inspired to start measuring themselves against Gehrig's standard. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)