________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 23 . . . . February 14, 2014


Lindsey Vonn. (Superstars!).

Kylie Burns.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2013.
32 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $9.95 (pbk.) $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-0067-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-0025-8 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-9385-8 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-9379-7 (html).

Subject Headings:
Vonn, Lindsey-Juvenile literature.
Skiers-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

* /4



Red Bull Takes Over

Lindsey's training took a drastic turn when the beverage company and sponsor Red Bull came on board to train the U.S. Ski Team in 2005. The new coaches emphasized a wide variety of cardio and activity training geared toward strengthening the muscles used in skiing and increasing the team's endurance. They tailored training to each team member. Lindsey's specific fitness and physio training gradually built up her strength and speed. Lindsey says, "At first I would question every new suggestion. Gradually I saw my strength and performance improve, so my confidence in their training grew."

Like other books in the "Superstars!" series, Lindsey Vonn is about a young person who has followed her passion and achieved superstardom at a young age.

      Vonn has had several advantages in her rise to fame, including her athletic ability and her good looks. She has also had her share of challenges to overcome, including a number of career-threatening injuries. Also, Vonn became estranged from her father, reportedly over his constant pressure on her to succeed and his disapproval of her relationship with Thomas Vonn, the man she would marry and later divorce.

      Despite her success on the ski hills, Vonn has battled depression. Unfortunately, the section in the book dealing with this issue may give young readers the impression that all you have to do to overcome depression is to find the right medication.

But in 2008, despite having her best year ever on the hills, she was feeling unhappy much of the time. She sought treatment and was lucky to find medication that could help quickly. She went from struggling to get out of bed to truly enjoying her life again in a matter of a month.

      Lindsey Vonn includes a table of contents, simple glossary, a list of books and websites for those who want to find out more, and an index. One feature that I like is the explanation on the "Contents" page that "Words that are defined in the glossary are in bold type the first time they appear in the text." For young readers not yet familiar with this convention, this is a clear explanation; for others, it is a good reminder.

      Unfortunately, this book has two major weaknesses. The first is the same as the other books in the "Superstars!" series, that being the speed at which this content will be out of date. Vonn has already had serious knee injuries that may yet be career-ending. Her determination to continue to compete is a good role model of perseverance for young athletes, but this book ends in 2013. Any future successes, including her possible performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics, will be missing from this book.

      The second weakness is more serious. There is a large amount of advertising embedded within the text and photos. Page 26 ostensibly deals with the topic of sponsorship of professional athletes. A text box framed in the middle of the page reads:

Professional athletes often have marketing deals with more than one sponsor. The sponsor usually requires the athlete to display their company logo on the athlete's clothing when they compete.

      The rest of the page is largely just a list of the names of a number of different corporate sponsors' names. Why is this information necessary? Throughout the book are pictures of Vonn in her ski wear, often wearing a Red Bull toque or helmet. In addition to the excerpted paragraph at the beginning of this review, the bottom half of page 26 draws attention to Red Bull energy drinks. Although it may be intended as a warning or disclaimer, the information reads more like a promo aimed at students.

Marketed as short-term energy boosters, the drinks' ingredients increase heart rate and blood pressure. Energy drinks are often banned in schools because of this.

      Red Bull even managed to get mentioned in the section on Vonn's support for the charity, Wings for Life: "Wings for Life was also started by the founder of Red Bull, one of Lindsey's main sponsors."

      Despite Vonn's perseverance against injuries and illness, and her support for equity for female athletes, the weaknesses prevent me from recommending this book. If you feel you need Lindsey Vonn despite the drawbacks, buy it in paperback.

Not Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen's University in Kingston, ON.

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

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