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SOCCER HOUR by Carol Nevius


By Carol Nevius (Author) , Bill Thomson (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7614-5689-6
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

As per usual (Karate Hour, 2004, etc.), Thomson’s artwork grabs the eye first and never lets it go. The realism he brings to this practice session and scrimmage is almost spooky, a feeling that is enhanced by the sepia-and-gray overall coloring, with the ball providing a juicy splash of color. Nevius’ text, in couplets—“In soccer hour we learn to think; / we come prepared with ball and drink”—can’t help but feel like background music, but she does set up the illustrator to get down to business. “We scrimmage, split the team in two, / ‘Thrown down the line, Red. Mark up, Blue!’ ” allows him to screw in tight on a youngster initiating the ever-awkward two-hand toss. Sometimes he is in the grass, looking up at a player dribbling by. Sometimes he is diving like a bird at two players vying for possession. He pulls back, he draws close, the action both frozen and swarming. Although there are plenty of glimmerings as to soccer’s mechanics—meeting the punt, trapping he ball, fake out moves and rainbow kicks—and the emphasis on practice making perfect is brightly handled, this is not an instruction book; it is a participatory experience, full of crackling atmosphere. (Picture book. 4-8)