________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 20 . . . . June 8, 2001

cover 2000-2001 Hockey Superstars.

Paul Romanuk.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2000.
48 pp., pbk., $5.99.
ISBN 0-439-98704-0.

Subject Headings:
National Hockey League.
Hockey players-Biography.

Grades 1 - 8 / Ages 6 - 13.

Review by Cora Lee.

**1/2 /4


"Could life be any better for Pavel Bure? The Russian Rocket is doing exactly what he loves, he's among the hightest-paid players in the NHL, and he's living under the hot Florida sun."
Fearlessly employing the bold superlatives that characterize both sports talk and advertising, the covers set the tone.


"Today's hottest names in the game!"

proclaims the front of Hockey Superstars. And on the back:


Hockey Fans!
Hockey Superstars
Has it All!
The inside scoop on your favorite players, with:
-16 mini-posters
-facts, stats and interviews
Your very own record keeper to keep track of the
season's play--and your own personal stats too."

The back cover fairly booms this message, and to great effect. Colour, typography and design combine to recreate not only the reverberation of the announcer's voice across the ice, but also the excitement that carries through to TV coverage of the game. The book, itself, could be a souvenir edition. Inside, 16 full-colour, glossy mini-posters of the players pair with one-page articles describing each player's career history. A "Stats" box foots each article and summarizes details of the kind that fans religiously commit to memory: a player's first NHL team and season, ranking in his entry draft, birth date, height and weight, position and number, game handedness.

      Author Paul Romanuk writes much like the sportscaster he is. The articles have all the energy and tempo that television demands. He calls upon coaches, teammates and the players, themselves, for quotes, and he delivers the numbers and points statistics dear to sportswriters. With the variety of sentence structure and the level of vocabulary Romanuk uses, including words such as "accelerate," "turmoil" and "attributes," he's definitely writing to the older end of the publisher's targeted range (ages 6 to 14). Both the style and content, which contains nothing of the negative, reinforce the perception that these pages could well have come straight from a fan mag.

      In contrast, the "Record Keeper" section is rendered in sober black and white. Activity sheets help readers track what happens to players and teams through the playoffs, with two pages devoted to the reader's own school or recreation league career. Kids are also challenged to predict team standings, game outcomes, and award winners. With lines for filling in answers and simple, direct instructions, the pages read like school worksheets: "Circle the team you think will finish in first place in each of the four NHL Divisions," says one activity, and "Tape the list here. How many of your picks are on the team?" asks another.

      The section also includes information on topics such as NHL conferences and divisions, major awards and a penalty chart with diagrams to de-mystify referee signals. Nonetheless, the book could never be mistaken for a primer on the game. Hockey Superstars is a curious mix. Part fan magazine, part workbook, it's likely to prompt ambivalence in adults who want more than just entertainment for their children. The book's primary audience, however, won't complain. Romanuk and his publishing team know well what the fans want, and with this book, they deliver it.

Recommended with Reservations.

Cora Lee is a Vancouver writer and editor.

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