Oddrey and her friends learn about teamwork and fun on the soccer field in Whamond’s newest offering about his kooky heroine.
With so many soccer-playing kids today, it’s a delight to see the sport depicted in the pages of a picture book. Oddrey is excited about joining the Piccadilla Bees when her friend Maybelline (the team star and quite a ball hog) invites her to play. As they practice, however, it’s quickly apparent that Oddrey’s penchant for quirky leaps and flourishes hinders her progress on the field. The other children’s efforts similarly evoke a Bad News Bears sort of vibe, and they are unquestionably hampered, in part, by Maybelline’s overblown ego and her refusal to pass the ball. Oddrey’s epiphanic sighting of a bee inspires her to liken the team to a hive in which each Piccadilla Bee teammate has a specific role. While the ineffectual coach stands by, she instructs “Queen Bee” Maybelline to pass the ball, and the other players then use moves that had been their downfalls in practice to the team’s advantage. “The Bees didn’t win that day,” reads the text. “But they did have fun playing together.” Although the text could have used some paring down to match the fast pace of the illustrations, the energetic, cartoonish art deftly draws on comic art conventions to carry the narrative.
A winning theme for the early sports shelf. (Picture book. 4-6)