Win One for the Gipper (True Story)

by Kathy-Jo Wargin (Author) Bruce Langton (Illustrator)

Win One for the Gipper (True Story)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: True Story

Like most boys growing up in Michigan in the early 1900s, George Gipp enjoyed playing sports. But even as a small boy, his athletic skills set him apart from the others. When he is awarded a baseball scholarship to the University of Notre Dame, his future seems set. An afternoon's horseplay with a football, however, brings George to the attention of assistant football coach Knute Rockne, and Notre Dame football is transformed forever. Setting records and winning fans' hearts, George seems unstoppable -- until cruel fate intervenes.

Now, for every young reader who has ever wondered about the phrase Win one for the Gipper, comes the inspiring story of the legendary George Gipp.

Kathy-jo Wargin has written such bestselling titles as The Legend of Sleeping Bear, The Legend of the Loon, and The Edmund Fitzgerald: Song of the Bell. She is a faculty member of the Bear River Writers Workshop, sponsored by the University of Michigan. She lives with her family in Petoskey, Michigan.

Bruce Langton's unmistakable style and unique ability to capture not only sporting and wildlife scenes, but also contemporary landscapes has won him numerous awards including the 1998 Featured Artist for the Northern Wildlife Art Expo. Win One for the Gipper is Bruce's seventh book with Sleeping Bear Press. He lives with his family in Granger, Indiana.

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Publishers Weekly

These well-suited collaborators present a crisp portrait of George Gipp, a gifted athlete from Michigan who landed a baseball scholarship to Notre Dame in 1916. Yet one day, as he kicked around a football with a friend, his talent caught the attention of renowned coach Knute Rockne, who convinced Gipp to join his team. Young football players and fans will most appreciate the author's recap of highlights of Gipp's stellar college football career, during which he repeatedly led his team to victory and became a national sensation. Wargin (The Legend of Sleeping Bear) also imparts a sense of Gipp's likable off-field persona (if he won money playing pool or cards with local folk, "he bought dinner for people who didn't have enough to eat"). Gipp's devotion to his team and fans drove him to play in one game even though he was feverish, resulting in a fatal case of pneumonia. The book's title comes into play in the story's poignant, unabashedly sentimental finale: eight years after Gipp's death, "at just the right moment," Rockne shares with his flagging Notre Dame team the now famous words that the football hero whispered on his deathbed. Those words inspire the team to come back and beat longstanding rival Army. Langton's (B Is for Buckeye) realistic, closely focused paintings do a better job of portraying the bond between Gipp and his coach than in depicting the action on the field. Nonetheless his portraits convincingly convey the hero's gumption and grit. Ages 6-12. (Oct.)

Copyright 2004 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-4 A picture-book biography of a Notre Dame football hero in the early 1900s. George Gipp initially attended Notre Dame on a baseball scholarship, but attracted the attention of Coach Knute Rockne, who encouraged him to give football a chance. Gipp suited up and became an outstanding player for his team. During his senior year, he became ill, but nonetheless played in the game against Northwestern on a day planned to honor his accomplishments. Two days later, he was hospitalized and died. Before his death, he told Coach Rockne at his hospital bedside to "win one for the Gipper," a phrase that was repeated eight years later in a locker room before Notre Dame went on to defeat Army at West Point. Langton's larger-than-life oil paintings are stronger than the pedestrian text, which is framed on each page. However, readers who have been curious about the expression will gain a clear understanding of its origin." -Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA"

Copyright 2005 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

..."portraits convincingly convey the hero's gumption and grit."
—" Publishers Weekly (November 2004)
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date
September 20, 2004
True Story
BISAC categories
JNF007100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Sports & Recreation
JNF054050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Sports & Recreation | Football
Library of Congress categories
United States
Football players
Gipp, George
University of Notre Dame
Charlotte Award
Nominee 2006 - 2006

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