Book World-May 11, 2008
Ted Lewin’s latest book is a gorgeous tribute in deep, rich watercolors to the place where boxing legends such as Muhammad Ali and Jake La Motta once trained. Located “just a left hook away from the Broklyn Bridge,” Gleason’s gym looks like a mixing bowl of the martial arts: “Kickboxers from Thailand, girl boxers, big, burly wrestlers.” As Lewin puts it at the start, “its everybody’s gym.” But its also one particular boys gym, as the book focuses on 9-year-old named Sugar Boy, who opens the big steel door and proceeds to get ready for his next bout. Lewin delivers knock-out, double-page scenes of boxers sparring, jumping rope and shadowboxing “with monsters in fun0house mirrors.” You can practically smell the sweat and- thanks to the sound effects artfully graffiti’d on various pages- hear the thump, thump of the heavy bags, the ratatatatatat of the speed bags and the buzz of the buzzer starting the round.-A.M.N.
Written and illustrated by Ted Lewin