Each of the 10 chapters in this exciting look at female athletes focuses on a woman or group of women who have accomplished incredible feats on the water, including seven women who rode three canoes 630 miles up the Back River to the Arctic Ocean; the eight-person U.S. crew that won a gold medal in rowing in the 1984 Olympics; the 83-year-old ``matriarch'' of rowing who still competes in at least two regattas a year; the first woman to paddle a canoe around the Baja Peninsula; and a hard-driving member of Martha's Moms, a group of competitive middle-aged rowers whose insignia is an apple pie and crossed oars. Freelance journalist Lewis offers just the right amount of straightforward explanation about the sports themselves so that even the uninitiated can follow the action. The book is more than a collection of individual stories however. As a whole it illustrates the importance of sports and convincingly portrays how identifying, training for and achieving a goal permeates the athlete's entire life with self-confidence. At the very least, as one of Martha's Moms remarked after trouncing a collegiate men's team, ``It sure beats watching the grandkids.'' (June)
While not a how-to manual, this book profiles American women rowers and paddlers (both canoe and kayak). The sections on rowing and kayaking include pioneers, Olympic medal winners and hopefuls, and a masters champion who began rowing at age 47. These women share incredible physical and mental self-discipline and a hunger for competition. Journalist Lewis describes these sports' origins and brings up issues of femininity, sponsorship difficulties, and other hurdles women athletes face. Because there is no Olympic canoeing, the canoeists profiled are not competitive but push themselves in marathon expeditions (e.g., Valerie Fons paddled from the Arctic to Cape Horn and wrote Keep It Moving: Baja by Canoe , Mountaineers Bks., 1986). Despite their plodding writing style, the stories will inspire and engage women, and there isn't much written on this topic. Recommended for public libraries. (Photos not seen.)-- Kathy Ruffle, Coll. of New Caledonia Lib., Prince George, B.C.
School Library Journal
YA-- These easy-to-read biographies of some of the stars of water sports emphasize the tremendous strides women have made in athletics since the 1970s. The book not only explains the joys, trials, and mystique of each of the activities, but also profiles ten athletes who have made their mark on these sports from the first pioneers to today's Olympic champions. The world of rowing, kayaking, and canoeing is opened up to readers as Lewis describes the lives of such figures as Ernestine Bayer, Kris Karlson, and Valerie Fons.