Posted: Friday February 9, 2007 10:09AM; Updated: Friday February 9, 2007 10:09AM
A hot trend in the publishing industry these days is children's books "written" by sports stars. Alex Rodriguez released his effort, Out of the Ballpark, this week, featuring a baseball-crazed boy named Alex who makes an error in a key game because he's trying so darn hard. That joins, among others, Terrell Owens' trenchant Little T Learns to Share. (T.O. apparently hails from the "write what you don't know" school.) Here are some other children's books that we can imagine being penned by sport figures:
1. Rex Grossman: In the Bears quarterback's The Big Game, young quarterback Rex leads his youth team to the championship game before a monsoon makes the ball too darn slippery. Even so, the team and town rally around him and, with Rex remaining as starter, the squad wins the championship the next two seasons. (Yes, it's fiction.)
2. Ron Artest: In A Boy's Best Friends, young Ron loves nothing better than frolicking with his huge dogs, at least when he can find the time during his busy travel schedule as a budding rap artist. Parents beware -- the Kings forward's book puts forth the unorthodox (and seemingly unhealthy) notion that dogs need only be fed once a week. Please, don't try it at home.
3. Floyd Landis: In the deposed Tour de France champ's Is That a Whisker on My Chin? the teen-aged protagonist starts to undergo "changes," as a perfectly natural surge of testosterone helps turn him into a man but skews his doping tests in a medically plausible way. Qualifies as both young-adult fiction and fantasy.
4. Chris Henry: In The Playdate, the Bengals receiver tells the heartwarming tale of a second-grade boy, Chris, who shares his "grape juice" with two cuties from first grade, only to have everyone get all bent out of shape because they don't understand how innocent it was. In the end, they let Chris out to play anyway. The moral of the story is the importance of second chances (and third, and fourth...).
5. Tank Johnson: In the Bears defensive tackle's Don't Touch My Stuff, the young protagonist, fearing that someone might swipe his Xbox, builds an arsenal of BB guns. Provides a vital early primer on the Second Amendment.
6. Stephen Jackson: In Be Prepared, 7-year-old Stephen stresses the importance of always being armed with his slingshot just in case someone "steps" to him. Indeed, given the fact that Jackson's former Pacers teammates allegedly got into a bar fight this week while foolishly unarmed -- a valuable teaching moment -- this book's message is especially timely (not to mention timeless).
7. Tom Brady: In the Patriots quarterback's You're Only Young Once, devilishly handsome first-grader Tom learns that he doesn't need to share his milk with just one girl. The moral is that there's plenty of time to settle down, like maybe in high school.
8. Gil Meche: In the new Royals pitcher's Find My Happy Place, a boy named Gil visits a number of potential second-grade classrooms to choose the one where he is most comfortable. The fact that the one he chooses is offering $55 million worth of cookies and milk is just a happy bonus.
9. Tyrus Thomas: In the Bulls rookie's The Half Truth, young Tryus learns that honesty is not always the best policy when he is grounded for admitting that the only reason he likes to visit Great Aunt Bessie in her apartment that smells like Vicks VapoRub is that she always hands out a 10-dollar bill ("free money").
10. Sammy Sosa: In Yo Hablo Sometimes, boisterous eight-year-old Sammy navigates the treacherous waters of bilingualism by happily (and charmingly) speaking English when he's making an historic run at the school home run record, but clams up when he's called to the principal's office to discuss the possibility that some students were taking extra juice.