________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 26. . . .March 11, 2011

cover

Hockey 123. (My First NHL Book).

Christopher Jordan.
Toronto, ON: Fenn, 2010.
22 pp., board, $9.99.
ISBN 978-1-55168-367-6.

Subject Headings:
National Hockey League-Juvenile fiction.
Counting-Juvenile fiction.
Hockey stories.

Preschool / Ages 3-4.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4

   
cover

Hockey ABC. (My First NHL Book).

Christopher Jordan.
Toronto, ON: Fenn, 2010.
28 pp., board, $9.99.
ISBN 978-1-55168-365-2.

Subject Headings:
Alphabet books.
Hockey stories.

Preschool / Ages 3-4.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**1/2 /4

   
cover

Hockey Colours. (My First NHL Book).

Christopher Jordan.
Toronto, ON: Fenn, 2010.
22 pp., board, $9.99.
ISBN 978-1-55168-368-3.

Subject Headings:
Colors-Juvenile literature.
Hockey Stories.

Preschool / Ages 3-4.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**1/2 /4

   
cover

Hockey Shapes. (My First NHL Book).

Christopher Jordan.
Toronto, ON: Fenn, 2010.
22 pp., board, $9.99.
ISBN 978-1-55168-370-6.

Subject Headings:
Shapes-Juvenile literature.
Hockey stories.

Preschool / Ages 3-4.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

** /4

   

excerpts:

7
SEVEN

Seven goalies (From
Hockey 123.)


C

C is for Captain Sidney Crosby. At the age of 21, Cosby was the youngest NHL captain to win the Stanley Cup. (From
Hockey ABC.)


Blue. (From
Hockey Colours.)


CIRCLE PUCK

Hockey pucks are round and made of hard black rubber.
Some NHL players can shoot the puck at more than 100 miles per hour. (From
Hockey Shapes.)

 

Board books are the domain of the very young whose fine motor skills are still developing. When not using their board books as substitute teething rings, these youngsters are able to amuse themselves by turning the books' thicker pages independently, and parents need not fear that these book's pages will be torn or crinkled by "clumsy" young fingers. Board books are also usually a child's first introduction to the world of books, and parents use them both to entertain and to educate their children. Counting, recognizing letters of the alphabets and identifying colours and shapes are skills that are often taught to children by their parents, and "concept" board books are among the teaching/learning resources that parents frequently utilize.

internal art     The first thing to note about this board book quartet is that the initial word in all of the books' titles is hockey, and the next thing to observe is that the abbreviation NHL, accompanied by the symbol for a registered trademark, appears in the series' title. The four books are not just all hockey themed, but the theme takes its textual and visual examples from within the framework of the National Hockey League.

      Vladimir Lenin is reputed to have said, "Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted." That this series is called "My First [emphasis mine] NHL Book" suggests that author Jordan (and perhaps the NHL) is hoping that youngsters' exposure to the contents of these four books will, in the future, possibly yield a crop of adolescent/adult NHL fans.

      Because of the books' very specific context, they are not "beginner" books that would be used to introduce youngsters to any of the four broad concept areas. However, for a child who already knows how to count, recite her/his ABC's or identify colours and shapes, the books could serve to reinforce these learnings by having the children apply their knowledge in a novel setting.

      Hockey 123 covers the numbers from 1 (one) Stanley Cup trophy to 12 (twelve) hockey players. In between are the appropriate numbers of hockey nets, hockey sticks, referees, pairs of skates, logos of the Original Six teams, goalies, helmets. Zambonis, hockey pucks and whistles. The first five numbers are treated on a single page while six through 12 are each found on pairs of facing pages with the left page carrying the illustration, usually a photograph, and the right bearing the brief text. With one exception, the items to be counted are clearly laid out, but the five pairs of skates might pose counting problems for toddlers/youngsters who are unfamiliar with the concept of pairs. The final pair of facing pages is a "Let's Review!" opportunity on which the illustrations and brief text are repeated.

internal art      Hockey ABC presents each letter of the alphabet on a single page with the appropriate letter being displayed in upper case only, though its lower case usage does appear in the accompanying two lines of text found at the bottom of the page. If one of the NHL's teams' names has the target letter as an initial letter in its name, then the team's logo is placed at the top of the page. Consequently, the logos for the Chicago Blackhawks. Colorado Avalanche and the Columbus Blue Jackets are to be found in a banner across the top of the C page which features a photo of Sidney Crosby. Some of the letters that often pose "problems" in many alphabet books find new expression in the world of NHL hockey. "Q is for Quebec. The first NHL game was played on December 19, 1917, in the Canadian province of Quebec." "X," another challenging letter, becomes "X is for Xs and Os, the symbols used in hockey drills." One of the book's least successful letters is "U is for united. Fans and players unite to celebrate hockey at the annual outdoor NHL Winter Classic."A photo of a group of Boston Bruins players, their sticks upraised in a salute to the fans, doesn't really capture the meaning of "united." Given that NHL teams have home and away uniforms, the choice of that concrete object would have been more appropriate for a young audience. Some of the photos also need more "context." "E"'s elbow pad, just sitting against a red background, would have been more recognizable had it actually been placed on an arm. Overall, this volume seems to expect that its viewer/readership already has some knowledge of the game. The book's final page is the "Let's Review!" section, and it presents the letters both in their upper and lower case forms. Because of the font chosen to represent the letters, the upper case I and the lower case l look exactly the same.

      Of the four books, Hockey Colours has the briefest text with most pages containing just the name of the colour. Again, the reader must remember that the colours will have a connection to hockey and/or the NHL. For example, the "green" page shows a photo of a player from each of the Minnesota Wild and the Dallas Stars teams superimposed on a green background. "Why those two teams?" you might ask. Well, green is a predominate colour both in the Wild and Stars team uniforms and their logos, with the latter also being reproduced at the top of the page. In some cases, a colour is connected to so many teams that the colour gets two pages, with one showing the players in uniform and the other page the team logos connected to that colour. For instance, "red" shows six uniformed players, one each from the Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens. When a colour, like brown, has no NHL team that features it in its uniform or logo, then another hockey related object is used. In the case of brown, a goalie's brown pads and blocker and catching gloves are used to illustrate the colour. Green, red, blue, yellow, orange, black, brown and white do not exhaust all of the NHL hockey colours, and the purple of the Los Angeles Kings, the burgundy of the Colorado Avalanche and the Phoenix Coyotes, and the teal of the San Jose Sharks are further colours youngsters will encounter. Silver finds its expression in the Stanley Cup while gold is a feature colour in the logos of the Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators and the Atlanta Thrashers. Unfortunately, gold is not a predominant colour in the uniforms of the three players pictured on the "gold" page. As well, youngsters flipping back and forth between the "yellow" and "gold" pages may wonder how these two colours differ. Young fans of Sesame Street may be reminded of the lyrics to the "One of These Things (Is Not Like The Others)" song when they look at the "pink" page as the NHL "hockey" item used to illustrate the colour is cotton candy! The book's 14 featured colours are reviewed via the volume's closing pair of pages. Unfortunately, the players used to represent yellow, gold and purple are wearing uniforms where white is the predominant colour while the intended focal colour is just used as an accent..

internal art      The 12 shapes found within Hockey Shapes range from familiar shapes, like a circle, that a child will find in her/his home to those, such as a hexagon, that children will likely not have previously encountered (at least consciously) in their young lives. Each of the dozen shapes is presented via a pair of facing pages with the left page having an outline of the shape and the right page offering a photo of a hockey-connected object that illustrates a real life representation of the shape. And so a circle is paired with a hockey puck and a triangle with the logo of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Less successful is the object used to represent the hexagon, a photo of the Frank Selke Trophy, the base of which has a hexagon shape. Because the photo of the trophy has been taken from the side, rather than above, youngsters who can't mentally reorient the photo will not see the hexagon. Spread across the bottom of both pages is a line or two of text that supplies information about he object that has been connected with a shape. The text that accompanies the image of a hockey net, a rectangle, says: "An official hockey net is 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Its red pipes form a rectangle and its white mesh netting is there to catch any pucks that cross the goal line. He scores." After circle/puck, square/scoreboard, triangle/Penguins logo, rectangle/hockey net, oval/goalie mask. hexagon/Selke Trophy, trapezoid/Art Ross Trophy and rounded rectangle/NHL ice surface, the book moves to star, crown, leaf and lightning bolt, shapes that are found on team uniforms/logos. While the final three shapes can be clearly seen, the star poses a greater challenge as Jordan has chosen to illustrate it via sweaters from four NHL teams that incorporate one or more stars in their logo. Jordan's text challenges readers: "Can you find the star in each NHL sweater. Unfortunately, the reproductions of the sweaters are too small. While a large star can be readily spotted on the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets sweaters, the latter also contains a dozen smaller stars that are not readily visible. Young eyes may spot the three small stars on the Washington Capitals sweater, but most children will not find the star on the Minnesota Wild sweater for two reasons. Firstly, it is very, very small in the reproduced image, and secondly, it forms a stylized eye in the silhouette of the bear's head. Like the other three board books, this one closes with a "Let's Review!" section, this one consisting of a page that simply reproduces the shapes' outlines.

Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB, a city that was once the home to the once-upon-a-time NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

NEXT REVIEW | TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - March 11, 2011.

AUTHORS | TITLES | MEDIA REVIEWS | PROFILES | BACK ISSUES | SEARCH | CMARCHIVE | HOME