Friday, 26 October 2012

TBC: Pond Hockey

I have been reviewing a lot of books geared towards an adult crowd lately, so I thought I'd look at a book that is perfect for the up-and-coming skater. Children's books are essential for kids to learn to read and for reading comprehension, so I want to include more books for tykes in Teebz's Book Club. That being said, Teebz's Book Club is proud to present Ben and Lucy Play Pond Hockey, created by Andrew Sherburne and Tommy Haines, written by Andrew Sherburne, illustrated by Kevin Cannon, and published by Beaver's Pond Press. This is an excellent book that introduces children to the game of pond hockey, and the story is great for novice readers who are breaking into their reading years.

From their website, "Andrew Sherburne is a filmmaker who produced the hockey documentaries Pond Hockey and Forgotten Miracle. He currently splits his time between his home in Iowa City, IA and his native Twin Cities. Andrew skates at the local pond with his wife Liz and his daughter Lucy.

"Kevin Cannon is a native Minnesotan who spent his childhood either strapped to a drawing table or strapped to a pair of nordic skis. He now runs the successful Minneapolis cartooning studio Big Time Attic, where he has illustrated several nonfiction graphic novels.

"Tommy Haines is the director of Forgotten Miracle and Pond Hockey, a film exploring the culture and kinship of the outdoor game. Tommy grew up skating on the outdoor ice of Minnesota's Iron Range. He lives in Iowa City with his wife Megan and his son Benjamin."

When I first opened Ben and Lucy Play Pond Hockey, I was immediately impressed with the size and vividness of Kevin Cannon's illustrations. The pictures are fantastic for little readers who like lots of cartoonish pictures, and Mr. Cannon has done a fabulous job in his illustrations. It almost feels like each page is a blown-up cell of a comic strip, but the colors used in his illustrations make the characters and images really jump off the page.

The story is written in a rhyming couplet, making it easy to teach kids about rhyming words. There are no ridiculous multiple-syllable words or concepts that novice readers wouldn't be able to figure out, so it is perfect for bedtime or reading time. Ben and Lucy Play Pond Hockey may become a favorite story for little skaters needing a bedtime story.

What's great about Ben and Lucy Play Pond Hockey is that it takes a concept that should be encouraged more in today's youth sports. I grew up playing shinny more than I did playing in an arena, and I can say that a few of the moves I learned while out on the pond came in very handy when I was playing hockey. Playing outdoors with friends also helps to build stronger friendships, encourages kids to practice teamwork and sportsmanship, and kids get lots of fresh air and exercise. I know parents were always touting the benefits of fresh air and exercise!

Mr. Sherburne has done an excellent job in working these themes into the story despite not having written the words. I think these messages come through as the reader, but your little skater may just enjoying the story for what it is - a good story about a brother and sister who love playing the game of hockey. Ben and Lucy Play Pond Hockey is only 32 pages long, but the story is written and re-written every time a youngster steps on the ice at a local rink.

Because of the excellent lessons put forth, the easy-to-read rhyming story, and the great illustrations done by Mr. Cannon, Ben and Lucy Play Pond Hockey is absolutely deserving of the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

If you're looking for a copy of the book, you can actually get it on sale right now through the Pond Hockey Store! Normally, the book sells for $17.95, but the Pond Hockey Store is offering it for $10! And Mr. Sherburne autographs each and every copy! How cool is that - getting it for cheap and getting an autograph! Pick up your copy today through the link above!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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