Cycling, ice hockey, athletics, tennis . . .There are so many sports and they're all fabulous! Soccer is great, except when your team keeps shooting and missing. Horse-riding is wonderful—so long as the horse does what the rider wants. Running, cycling, and swimming require agility and endurance. Other sports like ballet are not about speed but strength and style.
Sports lovers small and big will find the one they love best—and some surprises—in this witty picture book, presented with charming characters and laconic commentary.
"A compendium of concise text and droll pictures featuring anthropomorphized cartoon animals explaining dozens of sports. The jokes come even before the title page, with a cavedog chasing a mastodon, then being chased by a saber-toothed tiger ('Life was a constant to and fro') before, centuries later, 'there was time at last for sports.' This third picture shows a periwigged dog carried by two liveried hippos in a sedan chair. Each double-page spread contains multiple illustrations and blocks of accompanying text, often with amusing subtextual irony. The depictions of struggling skiers are at odds with the prose describing it as 'fantastic fun,' for instance. (In this book, everything is 'fantastic.') Though tongue-in-cheek, the book is also informative. The section on boxing explains weight classes, equipment, and training. A wide array of animal athletes is used throughout; the sprint, for example, is a race among a duck, donkey, tortoise, and lion (who wins). Basketball favors the tall; rugby is best suited to the strong and tough, and it's much like American football but without padding. Some of the most interesting facts concern offbeat sports, such as axe throwing, slacklining, and caber toss. Because it requires fitness and flexibility, ballet is also treated here as a sport, leading to an explanation of rhythmic gymnastics: 'unbelievable exercise, in time to beautiful music.'
Facts galore, presented in an entertaining fashion; both children and adults will laugh a lot and learn even more."—Kirkus Reviews
"Mix the bustling, anthropomorphic style of Richard Scarry with Disney's 'Goofy World of Sports' and you'll get this exuberant picture book. Showcasing sports from all around the globe, Konnecke provides brief snapshots of different games with silly animals performing their hearts out in pursuit of 'fantastic fun!' Though the text itself is quite small on the page and not particularly heavy on facts, it still conveys the basics of each sport without sacrificing the opportunities for humor. Silly asides during activities like boxing ('Have you ever considered how lucky you are to not be a punching bag?') and fishing ('Anglers like to be photographed with their catch. But if there’s nobody to take a photo, it doesn't matter. They will still tell you how big their fish was.') will delight adult readers while the many details in the pen-and-watercolor illustrations will give young listeners plenty to pore over. Ample white space frames and separates segments, allowing each spread to be enjoyed slowly and making this delightful read best for one-on-one sharing. While it won't make readers an expert on any specific sport, it'll certainly merit repeat readings, making it a real winner. VERDICT This book is fantastic fun and a strong addition to any nonfiction collection.—School Library Journal—Journal
"A call to arms—not to mention legs and torsos—to get the lead out, this panoramic survey isn't designed so much to help young readers decide which sport to choose as it is to broadcast the titular message. Despite a few major omissions, notably baseball and artistic gymnastics (cricket and rhythmic gymnastics do make the cut, though), Könnecke defines sports broadly enough to include cheerleading, fishing, ballet and breakdancing, billiards, and even simply tossing a ball back and forth, as well as dozens of more conventional activities. The emphasis is on sports that have organized professional arms, but a few are noncompetitive or, like arm wrestling, need no special field or equipment. Each entry includes informally drawn cartoon illustrations that range in size from one per page to one of several clustered vignettes, and feature small figures of anthropomorphic animals in action poses. Along with pithy characterizations, the author also occasionally lays out a few rules or describes a brief sample game. Fantastic fun indeed, even for armchair athletes."—Booklist—Journal