________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 22 . . . . June 27, 2008

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Gymnastic Events. (The Olympic Sports).

Jason Page.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4032-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4015-5 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Gymnastics-Juvenile literature.
Olympics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

   
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Sprints, Hurdles, and Other Track Events. (The Olympic Sports).

Jason Page.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4035-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4018-6 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Track and field-Juvenile literature.
Olympics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

   
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Rowing, Sailing, and Other Sports on Water. (The Olympic Sports).

Jason Page.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4034-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4017-9 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Boats and boating-Juvenile literature.
Olympics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

   
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Basketball, Soccer, and Other Ball Games. (The Olympic Sports).

Jason Page.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4029-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4012-4 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Basketball-Juvenile literature.
Soccer-Juvenile literature.
Ball games-Juvenile literature.
Olympics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

   
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Cycling, Shooting, and Show Jumping. (The Olympic Sports).

Jason Page.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4030-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4013-1 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Sports-Juvenile literature.
Olympics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

   
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Decathlon, High Jump, and Other Field Events. (The Olympic Sports).

Jason Page.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4031-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4014-8 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Track and field-Juvenile literature.
Olympics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

   
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Swimming, Diving, and Other Water Sports. (The Olympic Sports).

Jason Page.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4036-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4019-3 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Swimming-Juvenile literature.
Diving-Juvenile literature.
Olympics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

   
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Martial Arts, Boxing, and Other Combat Sports. (The Olympic Sports).

Jason Page.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-4033-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-4016-2 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Martial arts-Juvenile literature.
Boxing-Juvenile literature.
Olympics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

***½ /4

excerpt:

If there was an Olympic medal for bravery, it would have been won by Shun Fujimoto (JPN) at the 1976 Games. Fujimoto broke his kneecap while competing in the men's team event. However, he knew that if he withdrew from the competition he would ruin his team's chances of winning a medal, so he kept his painful injury secret and went on to compete in two more events. Thanks to Fujimoto, Japan won the gold! (From Gymnastic Events.)

"The Olympic Sports," an eight-volume series, covers a variety of summer Olympic competitions. Topics include the history of the sport, rules, clothing and equipment, terminology, scoring, statistics, famous Olympians, and interesting anecdotes about past Olympics. There are fact boxes, trivia, diagrams of playing areas- e.g. tennis courts, running tracks and archery targets- as well as comparisons of "animal Olympians" to human athletes in their chosen sport. Text is easy to comprehend; illustrations consist of colour photographs, cartoons and diagrams. In several of the titles, there is a pale orange band running across the bottom of the page. These bands list the reigning (2004) Olympic champion(s) in the featured sport. (Some minor flaws of the series are that some statistics may be rendered outdated should records be broken at the 2008 games, the layout is rather crowded and "busy," and there are a few editing errors. On the plus side, however, is the books' smaller size which is easier to handle while watching the games on TV.) A table of contents, an index and a list of country abbreviations are included.

     Gymnastic Events covers the three disciplines of gymnastics- artistic, rhythmic and trampoline (added in 2000). Apparatus, such as the pommel horse, balance beam and uneven bars, are described as well as safety issues, famous gymnasts in history and the differences between team and combined events.

     Sprints, Hurdles, and Other Track Events features 30 different track events and the tactics and strategies used by athletes to win their chosen events. Among other things, readers will learn about staggered starts, the pressure-sensitive pads on the starting blocks, and the grueling steeplechase, which is 3000m long and has 28 hurdles and seven water jumps. Olympic scandals, in which several athletes have been stripped of their medals because of performance-enhancing drugs, are also mentioned.

     Rowing, Sailing, and Other Sports on Water provides a history of the inclusion of water sports in Olympic competition. After an inauspicious start- these events were cancelled in their inaugural year due to foul weather, and so the athletes had to wait another four years to finally compete. Sports involving water craft have gained in popularity. In this title, readers will find diagrams of a sailing course and parts of a boat. As well they will be exposed to some sailing lingo and a simplified explanation of the physics involved in sailing a variety of vessels, ranging from kayaks and canoes to dinghies and sailboats.

     Many of the ball games played in the Olympics have their origins in ancient civilizations. In Basketball, Soccer, and Other Ball Games, there is information about playing surfaces, terminology and scoring, as well as facts about outstanding players. Sports covered in this title include handball, tennis, basketball, soccer, field hockey, volleyball, baseball, softball and table tennis. (One minor inaccuracy is the story about an ancient ball game played by the Aztecs in which the entire losing team is said to have been put to death. In fact, the game is credited to the Mayans and only the captain was sacrificed.)

     Cycling, Shooting, and Show Jumping features sports which require superior marksmanship or horsemanship, plus those sports whose athletes need to have great physical power. These sports include archery, mountain biking, cycling, show jumping, dressage, pistol, rifle and shotgun shooting, and weightlifting. Here one will find facts about mountain bike design, different types of bike races and how to determine the weight lifted by an athlete by observing the colours of the weights added onto the bars.

     In Decathlon, High Jump, and Other Field Events, there is information about contests of running, jumping and throwing, specifically the high, long and triple jumps, the pole vault, shot put, discus, javelin and hammer, and the heptathlon (for females only, combining seven different events), decathlon (for men only, combining 10 different events), triathlon (cycling, running and swimming) and modern pentathlon. The latter competition was inspired by a 19th-century French soldier who had to deliver a message. In order to get the message to its intended recipient, he had to ride a horse over rough terrain, fence, shoot, swim and run. Interestingly, in the multi-event competitions, it is usually the best all-round athlete who wins, even if he or she has not won any of the individual sports.

     In Swimming, Diving, and Other Water Sports, readers will find out about contests of speed versus those contests measuring artistic merit. Strength, endurance and speed are required for the swimming races such as breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke, freestyle, medley and relay, while water polo demands accuracy as well. The artistic water sports include diving (solo and synchronized), and synchronized swimming, formerly known as water ballet, performed by pairs or groups of eight. Sub-topics include the types of dives, springboard versus platform dives, the ways in which competitive swimmers make their bodies more streamlined for speed in the water, and the tricks used by synchronized swimmers to keep their hair and makeup in place in the pool.

     Martial Arts, Boxing, and Other Combat Sports discusses the three different types of fencing (foil, épée, and saber), judo and taekwondo, boxing, and Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling. Weight categories for the fighting sports, martial arts belt classifications, and types of throws and holds are just a few of the many other topics covered in this title.

     With the Beijing Olympics approaching, these titles will serve as excellent guides to the 28 sports and hundreds of events. As a result, television viewers of the Olympic games will not only understand the sports better, but will also watch with a more discerning eye.

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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.
 

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