Hockey: Then to WOW!
written by Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids
2017 (Liberty Street)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Hockey, like baseball, evolved from several similar games originally played on grass in the British Isles.
Of the four major sports, hockey is my least favorite. I grew up in a time period and area where no one I knew played the game while I did play the other three sports. So I come to this book a little biased against it. But I have to say that I was intrigued and pleased by what I found inside Hockey: Then to WOW! First, I love a good time line and this book starts off with a terrific one that explains how the rules have changed over the years. From its field hockey origins in 1877, many changes have been made. I also really like the humorous illustrations that accompany the time line. From there, the next several spreads explore how hockey equipment has evolved during the last several decades. These time lines are a great place to ask "Why?" questions that would fit in with the first Common Core standard in informational text. Why did Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull curve their stick blades? Why did goalies add a throat guard to their masks? How did technology help improve the hockey sweater? Why is it called a sweater? These are all questions that you could ask. Do you want to explore pie graphs in math? There's a spread for that. Two pie graphs show the origins of players and could be the origin of a discussion about what caused the shifts from the first pie graph to the second. The next section of the book features players from different decades who have influenced the game. Each player has a short paragraph explaining their contributions. The players are grouped according to position so you have offensive powerhouses, great goalies, defensive players who could score, and those who were just itching to roughhouse. This is like walking through a textual Hockey Hall of Fame. The last theme in the book may be my favorite. It's titled Fan Fun and it is definitely a great read. Now I have a possible origin story for the famous hockey playoff beard phenomenon and a photograph of local North Carolina legend Mike Commodore to boot. Plus, in the Games section, I'm reminded of one of my favorite arcade games of all time. You haven't lived until you played bubble hockey. A section on unique hockey fan traditions like the octopus toss finish out the book.
Hockey: Then to WOW! offers an opportunity to work on text features like time lines and to practice comparing different people and things in a sports setting. In the last thirty years, several sections of the United States have become hockey hotbeds so you should be able to find several readers who would love this book. My small town in North Carolina even has a hockey team! There's decades of fun and learning in this hockey hardcover.