#91 – Inside the Olympics by Nick Hunter

 4 Stars

This summer the Olympics are back, this time in London.  From July 27th to August 12th television sets around the world will tune in to watch the games, some of which are only seen during the Olympics, such as archery, fencing, and this year trampolining.  More than 10,000 athletes from close to 200 countries will be at the Olympics, ready to prove they are the best at 300 different events.  This will be a huge gathering of athletes, trainers, coaches, and spectators.

Inside the Olympics contains loads of information.  It begins by tracing the history of the games from its inception 3000 years ago in Greece to the modern Olympics of today.  Have you ever seen an Olympic medal up close?  In this book you will, plus read biographies of great athletes, get a look at what happens behind the scene to make everything work correctly, learn about some of the Olympics greatest moments, its controversies, and its technologies.  Author Nick Hunter even tells us about the Paralympic Games, which occur a week after the Olympic Games end, using the same facilities. With the summer games just a few months away, this is a great guide if you are interested in everything Olympics.

I liked this guide.  This is an easy read and in logical order.  It is not crammed with lists and statistics.  The author chose some of the greatest moments to highlight and some interesting biographies.  I like that he does not spend several pages explaining one sport or just the major sports like basketball and track.  This year the trampoline is an official event for the first time.  I remember going to a trampoline park as a kid.  There were dozens of trampolines stretched over open cement.  It looked like a large pool hall with sunken tables.  If trampolining is a hit in the London Summer Olympics, I wonder if those parks will return.

I read this book as a digital on my PC.  At times, it was difficult to read the text without zooming in, which I do not like to do.  Another version, such as a Kindle, (my choice until an iPad drops in my lap), was not available and I have not seen the print version.  Still, Inside the Olympics is entertaining.  Definitely opt for the print version.  With the Olympics opening just a few weeks before the end of the school year, it is a good bet teachers will find a way to bring the games into the classroom.

This book would be ideal for any child, even if not used for school.  Once these games start, questions will abound.  I know I always bombarded my father with all sorts of questions.  This book would have answered many of those for me.  It not only details the different sports involved, but also the technology needed, short biographies, great moments, discontinued sports, controversies, and what happens after the games end.  Inside the Olympics is jam-packed with information that will satisfy the casual observer to the ardent fan.  After reading it, I can honestly say that watching this year’s Summer Olympics will be more fun because I now understand more about the games.  Knowledge is power.

Nick Hunter’s Inside the Olympics gives a fascinating, yet condensed, history of the Olympics going back to its inception and then forward to today, adding many of the modern-day twists and turns the games have taken.  This short primer is excellent for younger kids who want to become more familiar with this centuries old, world gathering tradition.

Inside the Olympics

Author:  Nick Hunter
Illustrator:  Jeff Edwards
Publisher: Heinemann-Raintree  (Capstone)
Publication Date:  February 1,2012
Number of Pages: 64
ISBN:  978-1-4329-5488-8

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