An introduction to the game of hockey for the newest of newcomers.
Sports Illustrated for Kids here endeavors to lay out the objective and rules of hockey, and while the fundamentals of the sport are addressed, the book fails to capture its essence. Cutout photographs of players, presumably from SI’s vast archive, engaged in some particular action—a face-off, a check, a pass, a save, a slap shot—are pasted onto fields of retina-burning color, thus erasing any sense of the action taking place in a rink, let alone on ice. In an effort to get all the different pro teams in on the action, there is little continuity—one player shoots, but another scores; one gets a penalty, but another enters the penalty box. The sparse text is able to explain icing and offside, but that’s almost hidden in the delivery. While the little, manic, white cartoon character that accompanies each spread can be embraced or ignored, what can’t be overlooked are the pointless and even irksome speech and thought bubbles digitally collaged into the compositions: “Did you notice that Corey has spinach in his teeth?” “Is that my Aunt Mary sitting in the stands?” (The latter occurs to a player in the middle of a check.) Hockey is commotion when not mayhem, with episodes of grace and finesse, but all that is absent in these pages.
This book has all the gripping power of dull blades. (Informational picture book. 4-8)