I am a huge sports fan and absolutely love the Olympics so I opened this book with huge excitement and extremely high hopes and it did not disappoint.
The first modern Olympics was in 1896 although the roots of many sports can be traced back to long before the Olympics had been invented. Mankind had been running, chasing, lifting, hitting, throwing, kicking, fighting and swimming long before anyone ever thought of awarding medals for any of these achievements.
On Your Marks, Get Set…Gold! is an action-packed and light-hearted look at Olympic sports and it is a wonderfully fun smorgasbord of sporting history, knowledge, information and lots of humour. Readers are given an insight into all of the current Olympic events and I was thrilled to see the inclusion of surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing that will debut in the Olympics of 2021.
Sports are grouped into categories ('Having a Ball’, ‘Splashing Around’, etc) and each sport is presented over a double page. Pages are alive with colour and are abuzz with information, facts and humour. Readers are given everything they need to know about each sport including what it is, rules, pros and cons, equipment needed, key lingo and potential injuries. I love the ‘Best Ever’ feature that gives shout-outs to the best of the best in each sport. Usain Bolt, Steve Redgrave, Michael Phelps, Venus & Serena Williams, Wang Nan, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Trischa Zorn, Larisa Latynina and Pyrros Dimas are all recognised for their achievements. A light-hearted and humorous take on basic training will have readers laughing-out-loud as they are encouraged to stare at a spot on the wall for a couple of hours to improve their aim, lunge at a friend with a stick to improve their fencing skills, dunk their head in water and practice turning it from side to side to master breathing whilst swimming, sit in a full bath with a large spoon as an introductory lesson to canoeing and walk to the shops doing a handstand as they start their gymnastic career. I also really like the ‘Chance of Becoming a Champion’ barometer which offers an indication of how easy it might be to actually become a champion within a sport. If you’re going to be table tennis champion then you will need to beat off about 300 million Chinese players. Whereas archery is much less competitive as less people actively participate in the sport.
Olympians come in all shapes and sizes and there is a sport for everyone in this book. Whether readers are blessed with power, strength, agility, speed, balance, hand-eye co-ordination, have a head-for-heights or any of the numerous other skills that are required to become the best of the best they will find a sport that is right for them.
Bags of fun, this sports-fest is a most entertaining read which will be a hit with sports mad kids and those with dreams of becoming the next Olympic superstar. The perfect book to have on hand for kids to dive into when the Olympics start later this year...hopefully.
Recommended for 8+.
Due for UK publication on 6th May 2021.