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WEIRDZONE: SPORTS by Maria Birmingham


by Maria Birmingham ; illustrated by Jamie Bennett

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 15th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-926973-60-9
Publisher: Owlkids Books

The title says it all.

There will certainly be the temptation to ask if some of these endeavors are sports at all. Rolling down a hill in a plastic ball (aka “zorbing”)? Professional-grade pillow fighting? Lawn-mower racing, or rushing about in a toilet bowl? Extreme ironing (that’s with an ironing board and laundry, up high on some radical rock spire)? But, ultimately, this collection of odd-fellow sports is good fun. You can see it on the faces of the participants pictured here—just joy, or terror or complete flabbergastation, though thoroughly in the moment. Each sport gets a two-page spread, and its depiction can be somewhat hectic and haphazard. Yet the photographs and artwork are sharp and nicely illustrative of the strange happenings. The text is bell-clear as well, if a little overloaded with exclamation marks: “Inuit even skip rocks on ice!” Birmingham has done her homework, however, and come up with some of the most bizarre sporting stories to be told, including a football game during which the fog got so dense, the players couldn’t see the ball and the baseball game that lasted 33 innings (only 19 fans were in the bleachers at the end).

Any sports aficionado will easily be lost in these pages. (Nonfiction. 8-12)