Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ball Hog

Booklist (May 15, 2010 (Vol. 106, No. 18))
Grades 2-4. Like his friend and Bobcat teammate Erin, Ben has never played soccer before, but he enjoys the practices and learns fast. However, he doesn’t enjoy playing with Mark, whose big mouth and inflated ego make him easy to dislike. Their animosity spills over onto the four-square court at recess before they begin to see the value of passing in soccer and (no coincidence) the Bobcats begin to score goals. A good sports story for younger readers, this beginning chapter book balances bits of information about playing the game with realistic scenes on the field, at home, and at school. An effective subplot portrays Ben’s shifting emotions and ethical dilemma after a friend is excluded from their regular four-square group. Beginning with tiny portraits of the team roster, lively black-and-white drawings illustrate the story. The book concludes with advice on practicing and playing the game in “Ben’s Top Tips for Soccer Players.” A promising start for the Kickers series.

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