________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 5. . . .October 3, 2014


First Hockey Words.

Per-Henrik Gürth.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2014.
32 pp., hardcover & eBook, $15.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77138-114-7.

Subject Heading:
Vocabulary-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 3-5.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4




Who’s open? He makes a pass.


Gürth returns to hockey, a subject he focussed on in his 2010 work, Hockey Opposites. Youngsters who have read/had read to them other Gürth titles will immediately recognize his bright, bold illustration style which features anthropomorphic cartoon like animals that are outlined with a thick black line. While the players’ helmets mask their gender, Gürth’s use of male and female pronouns within the brief text reveals that the teams are coed.

internal art     Utilizing a combination of double page spreads and single pages, Gürth uses the context of a game of hockey being played outdoors to introduce some twenty terms that a child might hear if s/he were watching a game in person or on television. He begins with the hockey rink, itself, and then asks the question, “What do players need?” and answers the question by labelling what a “model” player is wearing/holding: helmet, jersey, gloves, stick, skates and puck (but why does he not label the hockey pants or stockings?). Obviously, the players must be adults as none of their helmets carry the mandatory face mask of the juvenile hockey world.

     The book is well-titled as Gürth truly sticks to the “first” words that a child might use in talking about hockey. Most of these common hockey terms, such as “face-off”, “referee”, “goalie”, “penalty”, “power play” and “breakaway”, are well-explained by the text and supporting illustrations. “Center” and “winger”, however, are less clear as each is presented in isolation. As well, though the illustration supporting “line change” makes clear what is occurring, the text does not identify what a “line” is.

     Overall, First Hockey Words achieves its goal, that of expanding youngsters’s vocabulary in terms of the sport of ice hockey.


Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Jets’ Country, i.e. Winnipeg, MB.

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

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