CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 7 . . . . November 24, 2006
With their amazing action shots, the covers of these books are guaranteed to attract readers. At the outset, the books provide warnings that only highly trained athletes should attempt the featured sport. Each title is comprised of 14 or 15 chapters, a table of contents, a glossary and an index, and includes current information about the sport’s history, various disciplines, equipment and clothing, safety features, types of competitions, terminology and super stars whose contributions to the sport have increased both the sport’s visibility and popularity. Explanations of the tricks and jumps are fairly straightforward and written in kid-friendly language. Fantastic colour photographs, diagrams and illustrations depict the gravity-defying maneuvers, the gear and the environments in which the sports take place.
Extreme Skydiving traces the development of the sport as new inventions, such as the ripcord, and new diving positions made skydiving both safer and yet, more exciting. Readers will learn about a jump plane, safety features, and camera fliers, those divers who record the actions of their team members by means of helmet-mounted video cameras. Other highlights include the various individual and team competitions- style, accuracy and swooping- which are judged by people watching the divers with high-powered binoculars from the ground. A great photo shows a group formation made up of 300 people.
Extreme Skiing features the three main styles of freestyle- freeride, moguls and aerials. A diagram of a terrain park shows different kinds of rails for slide tricks as well as a halfpipe, tabletop and spine. There is up-to-date information about the latest types of competitions which take skiing to the ultimate challenge. The primary focus in this title is freeride; moguls and aerials are covered briefly along with backcountry skiing and the special safety precautions it requires. Two Canadian women, one of them Jennifer Heil, 2006 Olympic gold medallist, are included in the section about famous freestyle skiers.
Several disciplines- races, observed trials (obstacle course), dirt jumping and freeride- are described in Extreme Mountain Biking. A diagram of a downhill bike and a XC bike shows readers the special features, such as different types of tires, pedals and suspension, which provide the best ride for the sport. The differences between downhill and cross-country racing, in terms of competition objectives, techniques and dangers, are explained along with endurance, hillclimb, dual slalom and mountain cross competitions. Two long-distance contests are described: the Iditabike, held in February, which takes riders through 160 kilometers of the Alaskan wilderness over 50 hours, and the Iditabike Extreme, a 515-kilometer, week-long race through a winding Alaskan mountain range. Safety tips and mountain biking etiquette are also included in the book.
In Extreme Wakeboarding, readers learn that wakeboarding, invented by surfers, is performed in the wakes of powerboats traveling at least 32 kilometers per hour. Nowadays there are different types of boards and materials to suit the kinds of grabs (aerial tricks), spins and flips, as well as various competitions and course designs. In some places there are even cable wakeboarding parks for people without access to a powerboat. Tow ropes are attached to cables above the water’s surface and operate at different speeds, according to the ability of the athlete. Wakeboarders have their own “lingo,” terms such as “getting slammed,” which means wiping out, and “sick,” which means something really good or cool. In this title, readers will also find out about the responsibility of a spotter in the powerboat, the hand signals conveyed by the wakeboarder to the spotter, and the ways in which wakeboarders qualify for the yearly Summer X Games. A diagram shows the obstacles on a typical course, including a slider, a kicker (uphill ramp), and a slaughter box (combination slider and kicker).
Visually appealing, exciting and current, these titles are sure to entice kids- boys, especially- to read.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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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.