Hockey and football: these popular sports have prompted a new series called “SI Kids Rookie Books” to teach some basic concepts, presumably to sports fans, though how many can there be among preschoolers? Pages are oversized, with, in this volume, photos in primary colors (along with green, white, and black) of life on the hockey rink. Starting with circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles, all seems to be proceeding as in many other shape books. Turn the pages and parallelograms and trapezoids are revealed in the goal area and the space behind, while a pentagon is on a player’s jersey. Then we are back to more familiar shapes: a diamond (also called a rhombus here), ovals, and a star. Three dimensions appear in the cylinder (slice of puck) and the cube (scoreboard). Each shape has a box explaining it and its relationship to hockey; there is a page-long glossary, too. It is difficult to know just who is the intended audience. The shapes themselves (well, most of them) and the large type suggest very young readers or listeners. Serious hockey fans would seem to be older and already know the shapes, though they could enjoy the action shots. Is Sports Illustrated trying to make hockey fans of four-year-olds or teaching shapes to middle-schoolers—or attracting confused geometry students? Teachers and librarians will need to decide whether or not this glossy mixed-motive series will be relevant to their own readers and objectives. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft; Ages 4 to 7.
Mark Weakland wears many hats. As an author, he's written books for teachers, including Super Core!: Turbocharging Your Basal Reading Program with More Reading, Writing, and Word Work, published by the International Reading Association. His book topics for children include sports, bacteria, comets, and poetry. Mark's also a reading specialist. He teaches kindergarten children, third graders, parents, and teachers. As a musician and songwriter, Mark sings, plays percussion, and strums the guitar. Many of his songs, including "I Sure Love Pancakes" and "The Dooflicky Machine," have won national awards and contests. Mark lives in Western Pennsylvania.