Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowy Sports: Ready, Set, Play! by Per-Henrik Gurth

I'm not quite sure what to make of this book - or where one would catalog it. Each page names a winter sport, gives a brief action sentence, and shows a winter item, usually clothing, but sometimes a piece of equipment for the sport.

The introductory spread shows various animals getting dressed and the sports listed throughout the book are ice skating, sledge hockey, hockey, speed skating, curling, bobsleigh, skeleton (apparently a type of sledding), luge, downhill skiing, ski jumping, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing. The illustrations are thick and swirling, with lots of bright colors, featuring various anthropomorphic animals.

The thing is, while you can get a general idea of what the sport is about by looking at the pictures, if you're not familiar with these sports, it's really difficult to figure out what they're doing. Although I live in Wisconsin now, I grew up in Texas; as far as I can tell, they're all sliding down hills on various implements. I'm sure there's more to it than that, but...the accompanying text doesn't really help; for "freestyle skiing" the text is "Twist and flip through the air!" and the inset box shows ski poles. For "skeleton" (which I looked up online) the text is "Rocket along the curve--zoom!" and the inset box shows gloves.

Verdict: What I'm most doubtful about is the audience for this book. An older audience is going to want more facts and information about the various sports. But, as I said above, you really have to know something about these sports to figure out what's going on, and while younger kids may enjoy the animals and the action sentences, they're going to have difficulty figuring out what's happening. Perhaps it would be useful as an extra book for a unit on winter or winter sports for kindergarten or 1st grade?

ISBN: 978-1553373674; Published September 2009 by Kids Can Press; Review copy provided by the publisher through Raab Associates

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