Thursday, February 15, 2007

What Athletes are Made of by Hanoch Piven

I came across the coolest picture book the other day and I do mean coolest. It's an information book about athletes by Hanoch Piven called What Athletes Are Made Of. Americans may know him for his earlier What Presidents Are Made Of. I confess, that as a Canadian, I didn't look twice at his earlier book. The subject just wasn't of interest. This book, though, is pure gold. Covering athletes like Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, David Beckham, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Joe DiMaggio, kids will get a glimpse into the lives of some of sport's greatest.

In addition to quotes and quirky bits of information about his favourite athletes, Piven added sports tidbits that kids and adults will be delighted to know at the bottom of each page. For instance, have you ever wondered what the significance of the special yellow jersey in The Tour de France? Or, do you have any idea just how fast David Beckkham's kick has been clocked at? Do you have any idea where the term "saved by the bell" comes from.

The best part of the book though, is Pavil's illustrations, especially the athletes' portraits, which are alone worth the price of the book. He uses everyday items like coke bottles, pencil sharpeners, rulers, golf balls, marbles and elastic bands in a way that those of us without an artistic outlook can only marvel at. Short biographies can also be found at the end of this most wonderful of books. Any sports lover of any age will love this fabulous picture book published by Antheum.

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