This easily read poetry collection represents a broad array of sports and games.
Simple rhymes and a consistent, well-paced rhythm read aloud well. Just about every sport is included, expanding from the titular activities to swimming, figure skating, ice hockey, karate, bicycling, gymnastics, tennis, and even lacrosse. Simple, flat paintings done in ink and watercolor present a diverse cast, featuring a variety of skin tones and hair textures (though no religiously specific garb), with all faces drawn with dots for eyes and simple lines denoting noses and mouths. Most of the poems reflect on the movements or goal of each sport without mentioning its name so that readers will make inferences from both the verse and the illustrations. For example, the poem about basketball is titled “Swish!” and it begins: “I dribble, / I run fast down court, / Although my legs are very short.” A foreshortened basketball about to enter the hoop is shown from the top of the net from a perspective that looks down on the player-filled court. This approach works well enough, but it does presuppose familiarity with all the sports in question. Caregivers unfamiliar with lacrosse, for instance, may not be able to help youngsters understand exactly what’s going on with “Teammates.” All sports are depicted with both male and female participants (judging from attire and hairstyle).
Quibbles aside, an inspirational and reasonably realistic representation of the sporting world. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)