Gr 4-7–Focusing on ideas such as inertia, friction, momentum, and reaction time, this series explains how best to use the equipment related to these sports. For example, Bazemore discusses how knowledge of Newton’s laws can help a soccer player bend the ball’s trajectory, and Biskup explains how quarterbacks should stand and throw in order to make stable passes. Many of the titles also mention how arenas, stadiums, or playing surfaces affect the games. Hockey gives insight into new equipment–a heated skate blade. Dynamic, colorful photographs, often featuring well-known players, help explain the vocabulary. Skateboarding and Soccer provide the least amount of new information. However, Soccer provides an interesting paragraph on the rare “flip throw,” enhanced with thumbnail photographs. Even though the books’ sentence structure and appealing design make them appear suitable for younger readers, the concepts behind how the sport is played make prior knowledge of scientific principles necessary. Titles may help readers to understand how to improve their personal skills, but more likely these books will be used as background material for science reports or projects.
Emily Sohn is a freelance journalist in Minneapolis, who covers mostly health, science, environment and adventure for both kids and grown-ups. Among other publications, her work has appeared in U.S. News & World Report, the Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, Backpacker and Science News for Kids, and she is a contributing writer for Discovery News. Assignments have taken Emily to exotic locations around the globe, including Cuba, Fiji and the Peruvian Amazon.