My First Book of Hockey
written by Mark Bechtel and Beth Bugler
illustrated by Bill Hinds
2016 (Liberty Street)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
The goalie stands in front of the net. He wears extra pads and a catching glove to help stop the puck. Plus, he gets to wear a scary mask.
Hockey may be the least understood of the four major North American sports and therefore the most in need of a primer for newbie fans. I'm a sports geek and I still get confused about aspects of the game. As part of the Rookie Books series from Sports Illustrated Kids, My First Book of Hockey gets us ready for the upcoming season. You'll find out about the number of players, the job of each player, and other intricacies of the game such as time and penalties. One of the great uses of a book like this is to teach vocabulary and how authors help readers understand new words. On some of the spreads, the authors let the illustration do the heavy lifting of guiding the reader to the meaning. Other spreads use the words around the term to help do the explaining. I like this book to use for mini-lessons because there are going to be terms that many students are not familiar with. This Rookie Book is also a good mentor text for how to write an all-about book which are popular in the writing workshops of first and second grade. These short bursts of information are just what is needed for such books. Another feature of this book are the humorous illustrations and captions of a pee-wee hockey player who looks like the little brother of Sports Illustrated for Kids fave Buzz Beamer. Young readers will appreciate the humor.
One activity that I would use with this book would be an opinion piece that asks writers to compare hockey to another sport. I would ask writers to find the sport that they think most closely resembles hockey or one that is completely different. If you know a young hockey fan or a potential one, My First Book of Hockey will shoot and score for them.