STAYING COOL (Dial, 1997)
Illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Curtis is working out, punching the speed bag, jumping rope. He is training at his grandfather's gym for the local Golden Gloves boxing tournament, because more than anything he wants to make his grandfather proud. Curtis wants to prove to his grandfather that he can get right back in the ring after losing. He wants to show his grandfather that he won't lose control when another boxer hits him too hard. But how can he stay cool when he has so much to think about?
Honor Book, Carolyn W. Field Award/Pennsylvania Library Association
"Curts's grandpa runs a boxing gym where the boy spends after-school hours, and Curtis is determined to get into the Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament. The story is carried by its details about training, captured in the illustrations, and by Curtis's determination to make his grandfather proud."
-- The New York Times
"Antle paints a portrait of mutual respect and growing pride, grandfather for grandson and vice versa. Lewis' watercolor illustrations provide an added layer of warmth."
-- The San Diego Union Tribune
"Curtis, an African-American boy, loses his temper during a sparring match at his grandfather's gym and almost loses his chance to compete in the local Golden Gloves boxing tournament. In an affectionate, intergenerational story, Curtis shows his grandfather he's learned his lesson -- good boxers don't rely on anger to win. Lovely, limpid watercolors contrast the gym's monochromatics with the colorful attire of the characters."
-- The Horn Book Guide
"Boxing is an unusual subject for the picture-book audience...An atmospheric story of intergenerational affection, this is set in a very specific urban, African-American milieu, carefully captured in Lewis's watercolors."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"The boxing and workouts will grab kids' attention and so will the smiling love between Curtis and Grandpa that is the heart of the story."
"Antle imparts quite a bit of information about boxing in her cleanly written text, but it is the warm relationship between Curtis and his grandfather that forms the elegant heart of the story, as the man and boy bond through mutual respect and admiration."
-- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"...both pictures and text capture the loving relationship between a responsible, sensitive young boy and his proud, supportive grandfather. Add this to your list of picture books with appeal for older readers; they'll be drawn to the subject and rewarded with a simple story of substance."
-- School Library Journal
"Children will learn as much or more about boxing and what it takes to become proficient in the sport from reading this picture book as they will from watching any number of sports reports. The smell of sweat and the sounds of crunching leather swing right off the page. The story is filled with all sorts of positive family values. This is the kind of love story a young male can relate to without feeling embarrassed. The book receives my highest recommendation."
-- Multicultural Review
"Antle deftly conveys the intense level of activity at the gym...while at the same time lovingly evoking the bond between grandfather and grandson...This is a book that works well on many levels, and offers young audiences a peek at a rarely visited world."
-- Publishers Weekly