________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 19 . . . . May 15, 2009

cover Nascar Blast. (Crabtree Contact).

David Clayton.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3832-9 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-3810-7 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
NASCAR (Association)-Juvenile literature.
Stock car racing-United States-Juvenile literature.
Stock car drivers-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Clancy Pryde.

*** /4
   
cover Motocross. (Crabtree Contact).

Ben Johnson.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3786-5 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-3764-3 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Motocross-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Clancy Pryde.

*** /4

   
cover Lost at Sea. (Crabtree Contact).

Frances Ridley.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3831-2 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-3809-1 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Survival after airplane accidents, shipwrecks, etc.- Juvenile literature.
Boats and boasting-Safety measures-Juvenile literature.
Shipwrecks- Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Clancy Pryde.

*** /4

excerpt:

The pace car leads you around the track. The green flag comes down. In seconds you're doing 180 miles per hour (290 km/h). You're pulling 3G on the curves, so you feel like you weigh 600 pounds (272 kilograms). The pit chief and spotter yell instructions in your earphones. The cars are three wide and…you're flying! (From NASCAR Blast.)

High interest, low vocabulary books are great for reluctant readers, and the "Crabtree Contact" series continues to enjoy success in this genre. Each of the three volumes reviewed here would be a good addition to a classroom or library, and each follows a winning formula of exciting subjects, spectacular full-colour photographs and short manageable sentences. Also standard in each book is a table of contents and an index, a glossary of "Need-to-Know" words and a short list of websites to encourage an extension of learning about the subject. The result is books that invite the reader on an adventure without being intimidating or overwhelming.

     NASCAR Blast is a thrilling introduction to NASCAR racing. It begins with a brief history of racing and includes a few vintage photos of the early days of souped-up Oldsmobiles which are sure to amuse readers. The organization of NASCAR championships is explained in detail, and text boxes describe the different track lengths for various races. Life as a member of the pit crew takes up an intense few pages as well as an assortment of strategies that drivers might use in a race. Several pages are also devoted to famous drivers that readers might know. The book is peppered throughout with eye-catching photos of impressive crashes and ends with tips on how to become a NASCAR driver.

     Motocross is another book about the equally thrilling racing of motorbikes. It similarly begins with a brief history and a dusty old photo of some racers in the 1940s. The early bikes weighed over 400 pounds and had poor acceleration! Judging by the more recent photos in the book, the race moves along more quickly today. Details about modern bike construction and the safety equipment necessary to participate in a race are clear and concise. The reader is taken through a typical 30 minute race with photos of treacherous turns, breathtaking jumps and dangerous wipe-outs. The book also explains Supercross, which is similar but takes place in a stadium, and Freestyle, where riders perform giant jumps and do tricks in the air while using ramps for extra height.

     Lost at Sea presents engaging stories of peril on the ocean. Each brief chapter details an actual disaster, and each is very different, impressing upon the reader the unpredictable nature of the sea. Catastrophe strikes a four-person racing rowboat, a yacht is flipped over in a sudden storm, a Russian submarine becomes trapped underwater in a fishing net, and a tsunami sweeps a man out to sea. Through these tragedies, the reader also learns about what is involved in sea rescue. In addition, there are simple maps that show intended routes and where disaster struck. These would be very good for reinforcing map-reading skills. The incredible stories are mostly of survival and triumph, and they make for very engaging reading. The book ends with tips on how to survive a disaster at sea, advice that hopefully no reader will ever need.

Recommended.

Clancy Pryde is a Bachelor of Education candidate at York University in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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