By: Jeff Savage
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: March 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2012
Ryan Howard was a go-getter when he was a kid and his parents, Ron and Cheryl, told him and his siblings "to never use the word 'can't.'" Ryan was a bit of a class clown, but when it came time for schoolwork he was very serious. He was also into sports, especially baseball, and played the trombone. It was a bit of a crunch to practice for football and band on the same day, but he "ran straight from the football field to band practice nearby." Not surprisingly, Ryan was also good at basketball. The confidence that his parents tried to instill in him seemed to be working.
Because Ryan was a left-hander, the obvious position for him to play was first base. By the time he was 12, his mother, Cheryl, realized he just might have what it took to be in the major leagues. It was the ball that "sailed so far that it landed on the roof of a restaurant 430 feet away" that convinced her. Ryan definitely could slam the ball, but his fielding was a bit lacking. The major league scouts were uncertain about him and Ryan wasn't drafted. His Lafayette High coach, Steve Miller decided to step up to the plate and intercede for him. In this book you'll read about how Ryan was finally drafted, his success in the minor leagues, how he had trouble his first year in the majors, how he stayed positive, how his attitude helped him improve his game, his awards, and you'll learn many other interesting things about Ryan, the One-Man-Gang.
The book starts out with an action packed chapter about one of Ryan's best moments, the first game of the 2011 National League Division Series. It was one of those games that he came "through when his team needed him the most," something that he is known for. The young fan will enjoy this short biography as they learn about Ryan's dreams, his tenacity, and rough going in his early career. The book is generously illustrated with action photographs. Words and phrases such as "changeup" and "runs batted in (RBIs)" are highlighted in purple and explained in the glossary. In the back of the book is an index, a timeline (2001 to 2011), and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is a fun look at Ryan Howard, one of the Phillies best players.