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Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson Library Binding – August 14, 2007

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Library Binding, August 14, 2007
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Library Binding: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (August 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375934081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375934087
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.3 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,810,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 2–5—"Althea Gibson was the tallest, wildest tomboy in the history of Harlem. Everybody said so." How this girl, considered "nothing but trouble," became the first African American to win the Wimbledon Tennis Championship in 1957 is both stylishly and compellingly told in this picture-book biography. From an early age, Gibson's love of sports distracted her from everything else. Buddy Walker, a neighborhood play leader, recognized her ability at street tennis, played with a wooden paddle, and handed Althea her first stringed racket. After considerable practice, he had her play at the Harlem River Tennis Courts, where she attracted the eye of Juan Serrell, a member of the upscale Cosmopolitan Tennis Club. There, assisted by pro Fred Johnson and Rhoda Smith, Gibson's game and deportment improved—though she bristled at the strict rules of behavior. Her eventual victory at Wimbledon is described in both the swinging auctorial voice and the tournament announcers' excited commentary, ending with Gibson's graceful acceptance speech. Couch's kinetic illustrations done in acrylic with digital imaging wonderfully enhance the text. Althea stands out in a blur of color against somber sepia, blue, and olive-drab backgrounds. The prose is rhythmic and has the cadence of the street, and it's a treat to read aloud. Like Katherine Krull's Wilma Unlimited (Harcourt, 1996), this is an affecting tribute to a great athlete, and a story to both enjoy and inspire.—Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Starred Review, School Library Journal, September 2007:
"The prose is rhythmic and has the cadence of the street, and it's a treat to read aloud ... [T]his is an affecting tribute to a great athlete, and a story to both enjoy and inspire."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, August 27, 2007:
"[A] sharp evocation of her spirited and appealingly pricky personality. Boys and girls of all levels of athleticism will find much inspiration in these pages."

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
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2 star
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See all 6 customer reviews
She is fun to read about, that's for sure.
The book also does a great job of talking about her past and how she overcame some hyperactivity and getting into trouble to do some excellent things.
Amazon Customer
Couch has taken a story that could have been accompanied by staid, simple drawings and instead imbued them with a kind of electricity.
E. R. Bird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm not ashamed to say it. Say the name "Althea Gibson" to me a month ago and you'd have met a blank stare. Say it to me now, however, and you may suffer the indignity of finding me thrusting Sue Stauffacher's newest picture book, "Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson," into your arms while screaming into your ears its high points. This might be so bad either if the book only had a high-point here or there, but the fact of the matter is that "Althea Gibson" is ALL high points. It's a rip-roaring, snorting, fast and frenzied, well-researched, reiterated, illustrated, formulated bit of picture book biography magnificence. With the author of the "Donuthead" books on the one hand and soon-to-be-recognized-for-his-magnificence artist Greg Couch filling in the necessary art, "Althea Gibson" has everything you could possibly want going for it. It's fun. It's funny. It's smart and interesting, and has a flawed heroine you can't help but want to know more about. If your young child is looking for a biography of a woman and you don't know where to turn, I can't think of a better book available to you. There's something about Althea.

Ask anyone. Ask her mama her daddy her teacher or the cop down the street that busted her for petty theft. They'll all tell you the same: That Althea Gibson is nothing but trouble. More comfortable tearing up the playground in the 1930s than sitting at a desk in school, Althea has a reputation for recklessness. None of that is enough to scare off play leader Buddy Walker, however. When he sees Althea play sports, he can only see raw talent and untapped potential. With his guidance and the help of the Sugar Hill's ritzy tennis court "The Cosmopolitan", Althea is given the chance to improve her style.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Sue Strauffacher's NOTHING BUT TROUBLE: THE STORY OF ALTHEA GIBSON (9780375834080, $16.99) tells of a girl who is 'nothing but trouble' - but Althea doesn't care what they say; she knows she's destined for fame - and so does recreation leader Buddy, who watches her athletic skills improve and who introduces her to the game of tennis. Althea doesn't like rules - but she doesn't like to lose either. Her determination will lead her to become the first Afro-American to compete for and win the Wimbleton Cup in this fine biographical story of a winner.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ulyyf on November 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's always good for kids to read about flawed heroes. Nobody really, deep down, wants to read about some guy whose only "flaw" is that they didn't brush their teeth before breakfast.

Althea Gibson, as the title should make clear, has bigger flaws. As a kid, she was a petty thief. She didn't attend class. She stayed out late. And when she was given an opportunity and people fell all over themselves to help her, all she could do is say she didn't come to work on her *manners*, just her *sports*.

She is fun to read about, that's for sure. And the triumph of being the first black person to win a Grand Slam (along with her partner, the first Jewish person to do the same) is sweeter for all that we learn that working on her self control helped with that.

There's a nice afterword in the end with more information, including names of her own autobiographies.

The one thing about this book I'm not to sure of is the artwork. Throughout the book, Althea is drawn with a wave of rainbow colors around her and following her. It does convey movement and all... but it also looks a little strange. I'm not sure what I think about it yet.
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More About the Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "Growing up is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much better to skip it and go from one childhood to another." So, I tried growing up and it didn't suit me as well as going from one childhood to another. Which is to say, that to write children's books is to stay in touch with childhood. Which is to say, it's not a bad thing to stay in touch with the child-like senses of wonder and delight.

So I think I will. My recently redone website will introduce young readers to my books and to my weblog about developing your own creative spirit and rekindling or nourishing your sense of wonder and delight.