CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 20. . . .January 29, 2016
The three books under review, Gordie Howe, Martin Brodeur and Hayley Wickenheiser, are part of an eight volume series entitled “Canada’s Hockey Greats” which celebrates some of the game’s star players, past and present, male and female. The other five books in the series include four current players, forwards Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos and goalie Carey Price. Rounding out the volumes in the series is The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.
Each book consists of five short chapters. As can be seen from the above excerpts, the authors favour simple sentences which, along with a larger font and leading size, make the text more accessible to weaker readers. All of the books are generously illustrated with black and white and full-colour photographs. Additionally, the main text is supplemented by text boxes which provide interesting bits of trivia. For example, in the National Hockey League, the number nine on a hockey jersey is immediately associated with two of the league’s greatest players, Rocket Richard and Gordie Howe. However, as one of the text boxes explains, Howe originally wore number 17.
(As an aside, while I, a septuagenarian, understood this bit of information regarding Howe’s “sleeping” conditions, I did wonder how many youngsters today would know that these bottom bunks were found on trains.)
Although the chapter titles and the chapters’ contents are different in each of the books, parallel chapters among the books demonstrate a commonality of focus. For example, each first chapter in the three books under review deals with a significant moment in a player’s life. In Gordie Howe, it’s the 1950 playoff game in which Howe suffered a serious head injury that could have ended his career at age 21; in Martin Brodeur, it’s Brodeur’s March 17, 2009 win which tied him with his childhood idol, Patrick Roy, as being the NHL goalie with the most wins; and in Hayley Wickenheiser, it’s Wickenheiser’s being selected to be Team Canada’s flag bearer at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Second chapters deal with the players’ childhood and youth years before they became part of the NHL or, in Wickenheiser’s case, a member of Canada’s national women’s hockey team. The remaining three chapters essentially deal with the players’ lives in a chronological fashion.
Of the books’ final five pages, two are taken up by a “Timeline Map” which chronologically identifies seven or eight significant happenings in a player’s life and then shows where these events occurred by locating them on a map of North America. “[Insert player’s name] at a Glance” is a page of “tombstone” data about a player. A six or seven item “Glossary” and a “For More Information” section consisting of a bibliography and webography, each containing a couple of items, share the books’ penultimate page. A brief index and a few lines about the book’s author complete each volume.
These highly readable books, especially those about active NHL players, should find a ready audience in elementary schools.
Dave Jenkinson, while a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, saw Gordie Howe, then a member of the WHA’s Houston Aeros, play against the Minnesota Fighting Saints.
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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.
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.