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Muhammad Ali: Champion of the World    by Jonah Winter & Francois Roca order for
Muhammad Ali
by Jonah Winter
Order:  USA  Can
Schwartz & Wade, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Jonah Winter's Muhammad Ali: Champion of the World is an inspiring picture book about a man with extraordinary spirit and showmanship, fighting for his dream and against injustice. Francois Roca's illustrations bring out the strength in the man and in the sport in which he engages.

The book opens on earlier African American boxing champions - Jack Johnson who 'wandered off to a distant land'; Joe Louis who 'slugged his way to the throne of power'; and Sonny Liston whose purpose was 'to knock people out in the very first round.' Then came Cassius Clay who said 'I WILL BE THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME.' He believed in himself, reinvented himself as Muhammad Ali, and danced his way around the boxing ring, reciting his own verses.

The book goes on to cover the superstar's refusal to go to war and resultant jail time and banishment from the Kingdom of Boxing. Muhammad Ali fought against the ban and won that fight too, followed by 'the Rumble in the Jungle', his match with the legendary George Foreman, after which he was again able to say, 'I AM THE GREATEST.'

I remember news reports of Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali when I was growing up, so was fascinated to read his story in retrospect. I recommend Muhammad Ali: Champion of the World as an excellent picture book bio of a remarkable man.

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