September 03, 2012

And the Crowd Goes Wild! A Global Gathering of Sports Poems

Edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte and Heidi Bee Roemer
Illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Friesen Press
67 pp.
Ages 7-12
August 2012

Reviewed from digital file

Fans of sports, poetry, humour and youngCanLit will be sure to cheer for this anthology of poetry that stretches from the experiences of going to the stadium to playing and watching various sports and games (including lacrosse, chess, table tennis, football, baseball and dogsled racing) and finales like the World Series and closing ceremonies.

And the Crowd Goes Wild! editors, Canadian Carol-Ann Hoyte and American Heidi Bee Roemer, have chosen poetry from around the world, hence the global gathering, which includes Canada, U.S.A., Australia, Liberia, England, Scotland, New Zealand, Ghana, Ireland and Wales.  Young readers will recognize many sports like hockey, tennis and football, and learn about nontraditional endeavours such as goalball and monoskiing.  Whether in contexts of global events such as the Olympics and the Paralympics, or based in neighbourhood fields and playgrounds, the poetry will touch readers with its humour, poignancy or familiarity.  From the young girl whose letter asks her coach (also her father) to let her play (The Letter by Eileen R. Meyer), to a girl's relationship with her father solidified over sport (I Watch Football with My Father by Savannah Tesla) or Tiffany Stone's I Hate Hockey, surprisingly told from the puck's point of view, the poetry emphasizes the relation of young people to sport from their own perspectives and experiences.  The reader need not be familiar with the sport or topic to enjoy the poetry, but experiences, personal or observational, will introduce another layer of appreciation and comprehension of the poetry.

One of the numerous poems by Canadians is Pianoball by Jocelyn Shipley, author of How to Tend a Grave (reviewed here).  Showing her writing versatility, Jocelyn Shipley's poem about a child practising piano while yearning for the baseball game is enhanced by a Kevin Sylvester drawing.  Kevin Sylvester, author of the wildly popular Neil Flambé series, is also recognized for his sports-based non-fiction (e.g., Game Day, Annick, 2010; Sports Hall of Weird, Kids Can Press, 2005) and award-winning illustrations (e.g., Don't Touch That Toad and Other Strange Things Adults Tell You, Kids Can Press, 2010) so he was the definitive choice for illustrator of And the Crowd Goes Wild!

I haven't even mentioned a valuable resource for teachers who'd love to meld poetry with sports.  The editors generously referenced each poem to its form (e.g., shape poems, acrostic) and poetic devices such as hyperbole and metaphor. And if that wasn't enough, there is a website at that is slated to provide primers on writing poetry and interviews with the editors and others related to And the Crowd Goes Wild! book.

As I'm always promoting CanLit for young readers, the inclusion of poetry by non-Canadians does not negate the value of this wonderful anthology.  Published in Canada with the efforts of a Canadian editor and illustrated by a well-known illustrator and sports enthusiast, in addition to the numerous poets from Canada, I can safely attest that And the Crowd Goes Wild! hits one out of the park, no matter who's on the teams. Go, Team Hoyte-Roemer, Go!


  1. Thanks for your lovely review, Helen! Your kind words are much appreciated.
    --Heidi Bee Roemer, co-editor

  2. What a nice review. ATCGW forever!