Written by Brad Herzog, Illustrated by Melanie RosePublished by Sleeping Bear Press, Review by Jillian RogersExtreme is a word thrown around a lot these days. From extreme sports drinks and car parts, to extreme music and, yes, even extreme scooters. Just Google the word and you’ll see what I’m talking about.The alphabet book “E is for Extreme” is geared for children and runs the gamut of adrenaline-packed sports ranging from, well, A to Z. Stop at the letter I, where you’ll read: “I is for Iditarod.” “Before airplanes and snowmobiles arrived, people relied on sled dogs to travel across the Alaskan wilderness during the winter,” the book reads.“Every March since 1973, that important part of the state’s history is honored by the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a 1,150-mile marathon from the city of Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome, which is located on the western coast.”The illustrations in the book are well thought out, vivid and interesting. The information is accurate throughout: not that I’ve ever whizzed down a zip-line in Zimbabwe (‘Z’).In the book, the Iditarod joins a host of other intense, global events such as; climbing Everest (‘E’), kite boarding (‘K’), vert riding (‘V’) and swimming across the ocean (‘O’). Sound extreme? That’s the point.I can’t help but wonder, however, is it a good idea to teach young kids about such perilous activities?For example: “Q is for La Quebrada, a place in Mexico where divers plunge from jagged cliffs into the sea below.”Running the Iditarod is one thing. It takes years of dedication, not only to train, but dedication to a whole yard full of living things. Plus, you can’t even enter until you’re 18.It’s true, in the book, all the illustrations show the kids wearing full safety gear; helmets, protective pads, etc. Still, it seems a bit over the top for a children’s bedtime read.Maybe I should give kids more credit. And maybe that’s why I only have dogs, no kids.But if it gets a young one’s imagination stirring, I guess that’s a sign of a good book. Heck, for a moment, even I was daydreaming about adventure racing in Madagascar (‘A’) and catching a monster wave at Jaws in Hawaii (‘J’).The author has won several awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education for his books. He has a whole series of alphabet books on various sports including soccer, figure skating, golf, and baseball. For more information, visit


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