CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 3 . . . .September 28, 2007
The subtitle is quite accurate in describing the contents of Faceoff! as the slim volume contains 31 game-type activities plus four pages of facts, with the latter dealing with such information as a brief history of hockey, hockey term definitions and record holders. The "fun" game section can be divided into two distinct types. One activity type demands virtually no real knowledge of hockey and simply takes familiar game formats and recasts them in a hockey setting. Consequently, readers are invited to complete word searches and mazes, find the objects, ascertain what's different between two illustrations or engage in a game of snakes and ladders hockey-style, with tape projecting them up the game board and skate laces carrying them down. The second type of games, a mixture of fill-in-the blanks, unscramble the jumbled letters, column matches, multiple choice questions, crossword puzzles and Rebus riddles, do require that the game player actually know something about hockey, a fair bit actually, with the focus being the National Hockey League, and not just the league's present day teams and their players. Fortunately, Faceoff! concludes with a four-page answer key because readers, especially those doing the knowledge activities, are going to need its help. Just to confirm that readers have been paying attention to the book's factual contents, Sinclair inserts two "Instant Replay" quizzes.
As the reproduced cover illustration shows, Sinclair has utilized a cartoony style to enliven the book's contents, but, to some degree, this illustration choice clashes with the book's two types of contents. The illustrations used to decorate the "no-hockey-knowledge" activities are certainly quite suitable for a younger audience, but the knowledge activities definitely require older readers, and they, upon seeing the illustrations, may prejudge the book's contents as being too juvenile for them. Because Faceoff! calls for its users to write on its pages, the book likely won't make its way into too many library collections, but it would make an excellent home purchase, especially in families having children spanning a range of ages.
Now a Senior Scholar in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba, Dave Jenkinson is CM's editor.
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