A memorable and thought-provoking work of sportswriting that transcends the excitement of championship games.

THE SUPER BOWL

CHASING FOOTBALL IMMORTALITY

From the Spectacular Sports series

Although the Super Bowl is at the hub of Doeden’s story, he also follows the evolution of professional football from mud bath to cultural institution and beyond.

It wasn’t until the 1920s that the sport rose above the status of Midwestern semipastime. It was during that decade, Doeden explains, that the owners of the 11 professional teams created what was to become the National Football League. Of equal importance, writes Doeden, a championship game was established. It didn’t matter that it was held on a field that was 20 yards short “and hadn’t been properly cleaned after a circus had been in town.” Still, “it didn’t take the league long to discover that playoff games made a lot of money.” Doeden easily negotiates all the brouhaha surrounding the upstart American Football League and the inevitable path to a clash between the two leagues. Sidebars complement the accounts of great contests, memorable plays, and halftime extravaganzas (tactfully dodging the wardrobe malfunction). Doeden doesn’t mince words when it comes to chronic traumatic encephalopathy: “A 2016 study showed that 40 percent of retired NFL players showed some sign of brain injury.” His big question is equally frank: “How far can the rule changes go before the game itself stops resembling the game that fans love?”

A memorable and thought-provoking work of sportswriting that transcends the excitement of championship games. (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2754-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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A splendid volume for young adventurers.

SURVIVOR KID

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO WILDERNESS SURVIVAL

Based on her work with middle-school students, Long offers lessons on how to stay healthy and out of trouble while awaiting rescue, the same lessons taught to adults in her survival classes.

Her matter-of-fact, no-nonsense tone will play well with young readers, and the clear writing style is appropriate to the content. The engaging guide covers everything from building shelters to avoiding pigs and javelinas. With subjects like kissing bugs, scorpions, snow blindness and “How going to the bathroom can attract bears and mountain lions,” the volume invites browsing as much as studying. The information offered is sometimes obvious: “If you find yourself facing an alligator, get away from it”; sometime humorous: Raccoons will “fight with your dog, steal all your food, then climb up a tree and call you bad names in raccoon language”; and sometimes not comforting: “When alligators attack on land, they usually make one grab at you; if they miss, you are usually safe.” But when survival is at stake, the more information the better, especially when leavened with some wit. An excellent bibliography will lead young readers to a host of fascinating websites, and 150 clipart-style line drawings complement the text.

A splendid volume for young adventurers. (index not seen) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56976-708-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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A football fan’s treasure trove of magic seasons and moments.

THE GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAMS OF ALL TIME

Storied football teams are ranked and compared.

After an introduction that establishes the subjectivity of any sort of greatest rankings (“Because the only thing better than watching football is arguing about it afterward”) and defines the familiar-to-sports-fans acronym G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), this book sets out to build cases for which teams (and players) were the best. An unsurprisingly NFL–heavy book, the first chapter covers 20 top NFL teams season by season; this makes up roughly the first half of the book. The selected seasons range from 1940 (the Bears) to 2016 (the Patriots), with some franchises appearing more than once. Alongside narrative highlights of the team’s season, each set of two spreads includes sidebars covering impressive team statistics and interesting anecdotes (such as the first player to dump Gatorade on a coach, strange sports superstitions, and a prank involving an alligator in a shower). The second chapter breaks from the team focus to select individual NFL players at each position, and the third chapter branches out to single-season college teams (limited to 10, which is sure to disappoint readers from unrepresented college football towns). Then the book returns to the NFL with blurbs about the best year for each franchise, takes a break to highlight a single team from a handful of other leagues (including Canadian and a women’s league), before returning to the NFL for a collection of top-10 lists by team stats.

A football fan’s treasure trove of magic seasons and moments. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68330-072-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Sports Illustrated Books

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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