The Day Roy Riegels Ran the Wrong Way

Dan Gutman, illus. by Kerry Talbott. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59990-494-8
Gutman showcases an infamous blunder in college football history in this play-by-play recap of an incident in the 1929 Rose Bowl between the University of California and Georgia Tech. When a player dropped the ball, Riegels, California’s center, grabbed it and ran determinedly—toward the wrong goalpost. Riegels realized his error at the one-yard line, but the mishap cost his team the game. The two-tiered narrative juxtaposes the breathless voice of the radio broadcaster (“Folks, I’ve never seen anything like it in all my days!”) with dialogue between a contemporary boy and his grandfather, who’s telling his grandson about Riegels’s gaffe. With a muted palette that reinforces the period feel, Talbott’s mixed-media cartoons approach caricature, depicting the characters’ horrified expressions with an exaggeration that nods toward vintage comics. Gutman (Casey Back at Bat) notes that a humiliated Riegels jumped back into the game and performed well, underlining a message summed up neatly by the grandfather: “It just goes to show that mistakes are not the end of the world.” Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/05/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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