CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 18 . . . . May 12, 2000
The strange-looking contraption roared through the streets of Valcourt, Quebec, on January 31, 1922. People yelled and dashed up out of the way, all the while staring at this fascinating machine that had dogs barking, cats fleeing for safety, and horses bucking. That young Bombardier boy had come up with another invention, and this one travelled over snowy streets on runners, instead of wheels. The citizens of Valcourt were watching the test run of the very first snowmobile. They were also watching a very angry Monsieur Bombardier running after his two sons, shouting and waving his arms at them.In the spirit of promoting Canadian achievement, Shooting Hoops and Skating Loops: Great Inventions in Sports celebrates Canadian ingenuity by taking a chronological stroll through the development of ten recreational activities, many of which have since evolved into popular sports now identified with this country. From snowshoeing to sailing, hockey to basketball, the text weaves together historical story and facts into an entertaining and fun narrative that has readers sailing the first Laser and throwing snowsnakes over a mile! Various aspects of these sports are discussed, including equipment design, key historical figures, and the roles of Aboriginal peoples and women. The text is comfortably interspersed with illustrations, subheadings, and separate boxes of related information [such as early game rules] or unusual facts ['did you know...?]. Technical terms are highlighted throughout and explained in the glossary, and the index includes references to personal names and illustrations.
The warm, earth tones of Bill Slavin's watercolours appropriately reflect the importance of nature as an early source of materials, while the style evokes the simplicity of a time period when most of these sports were grassroots endeavours that brought local communities together. The pictures support the text not only by providing detailed images of objects, but also by adding historical context and humour. Overall the design is well-balanced and clean.
Given the many outside sources consulted, Shooting Hoops and Skating Loops is a worthwhile addition to any school or public library collection as both a reference source for assignments and for personal interest. With its intriguing facts, technical detail and accessible language, it is a potentially good title to hook those reluctant readers with an interest in contemporary sports literature and activities.
Tom Knutson, a Children's Librarian with Vancouver Public Library, is Vice-Chair of the Young Adult and Children's Services [YAACS] section of the British Columbia Library Association.
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