Tony Dungy's book is wordy but uplifting
The former Bucs coach and Super Bowl winner for the Indianapolis Colts conquered the book world last year with his bestseller "Quiet Strength," which became the first NFL-related book ranked No. 1 for nonfiction hardcovers. Now he has turned his sights on kids and parents with "You Can Do It," an uplifting, if wordy, tale about pursuing your dreams.
It's the story of young Tony Dungy's little brother Linden, who is struggling in the shadow of his athletic brother and his science-star sisters to find a dream of his own. Linden is having a bad day, with a sore tooth and a reputation as a class clown. After his parents get yet another call from school about Linden's quacking like a duck in class, his father gets him to confess that what's really bothering him is that, "I don't know my 'it' "
You're what? his father asks. His siblings have "it," he says. "Their it, what they dream about, what they want to be. It's like you always tell me, 'You can do it. Dream big.' But I don't know what it is."
The family prays about it, Tony encourages him, his father shows him his laboratory in his science class to show him what his "it" is, and finally a visit to the dentist lights Linden's fire.
The book has its moments of fun and certainly is a good topic for a parent-child talk. But like many celebrity children's books (especially Madonna's), it's too wordy for little kids and not funny enough to keep big kids' attention. I can see reading this once or twice but don't expect it to be a regular bedtime read. The book jacket says it's for ages 4 to 7. I read it to a 5-year-old and a 10-year-old and they both were fidgety, but engaged. The younger one liked it because of the class clown moments, but the older one thought it was too "preachy."
It did however start a discussion about why work isn't such a bad thing if you love what you do. This, I suspect, was Coach Dungy's game plan all along, to get parents and kids talking. You can read for yourself in our inteview with Dungy here.
Sharon Kennedy Wynne