Sunday, July 22, 2012
G is for Gold Medal by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles
Rating: 5 stars (or just one gold medal)
HURRY! If you order this book RIGHT NOW it'll arrive at your house before the Opening Ceremonies!
We ordered our copy about a week ago and the kids were super excited to look through it. I don't really make a big deal out of a lot of things. I drag my feet in decorating for Halloween (much to Lorelei the Decorator's chagrin). I force myself to put something green on their plate for St Patrick's Day (last year was guacamole. I know...mommy demerit for me).
But the Olympics! The OLYMPICS! THIS is a reason for all caps and exclamation marks if I've ever had one!
I was a horseback rider growing up. Did you know that I was the (ahem) state champion of Hawaii in both English and Western in 1990? (It helped to have only two opponents and a cute pony named Flashdance.) Anyway, I really believed when I was little that I would ride in the Olympics. I was dedicated and had a lot of talent--but not the money. When I was a child of an Army officer, I didn't realize that my leased pony was worth about as much as one unshod hoof of an Olympic steed.
But you know what? No matter. I believed, and I dreamed. And I wasn't too disappointed when reality caught up with me. realized that life would not include the Games. Sports--mostly riding, but also running--helped channel my energy into healthy pursuits.
My husband and I totally get into the Games. We watch them as much as possible, even non-TV me. Track and field, gymnastics, and horseback riding are my favorites. We explain to Lorelei and Ben how much the athletes have to train, how hard they have to work, how much they have to want it. I am inspired by these athletes, and I know they'll see that and get a little inspired in their own way, too.
It's hard to find ANY book about the Olympics, and I'm glad to say that this is a really good one that explains what the Games are about. If you're not familiar with these alphabet books by Herzog, there are two ways to read them--first, a short poem for each letter that make the book a good sit-in-my-lap-for-a-bit-and-read book; second, an additional description of that letter-inspired theme that would take about 20-30 minutes to read out loud, but would really provide a ton of information to a curious kid. Each one is informative and insightful. It took us one long lunch to read this book; Lorelei and Ben had a bunch of (wonderful) questions that I was excited they asked and therefore took my time answering.
But the pictures are what make this book excellent. They are HUGE in scale; they are drawn to draw in all these little eyes that are looking at the book, and hopefully watching a bit of the Games. The illustrations are slightly bigger than life, and I found myself looking through the book once again after bedtime.
The Olympics only come once every four years, of course, so I think it's worth making them a BIG DEAL in your house, too. Even if you're annoyed by these ALL CAPS and exclamation points!
(I'm excited. What can I say?!)
P.S. One of the other few books I can find with any Olympic storyline is the wonderful Koala Lou, which is also my very first blog post.