Continuing his already-beloved Geisel Award–winning series, Adler brings Mo Jackson and the family to the soccer field, where overzealous Mo must hone his skills in order to perform at the big game.
Mo Jackson is a small boy who loves sports with all his heart, though he is often smaller, younger, and slower than the other kids on the field. In this outing, he must master kicking if he’s going to be a contributor to his team, keeping the soccer ball on the ground instead of allowing it to fly every which way. His mom and dad practice with Mo before the big game, rolling the ball to him again and again, but it’s not looking promising. When the game starts, Coach Judy reiterates to Mo and the rest of the kids: “Keep the ball low. Kick it on the ground. Kick it toward the goal.” With the game tied late, Mo will get his opportunity to test out his mighty kick he’d been practicing all day. Readers just may be surprised at the result. The easy-to-read large font shares each page with Ricks’ energized, cartoonish illustrations. They easily and often humorously support decoding the text. Mo, his parents, and Coach Judy are all black, and featured throughout are diverse characters of different skin tones, body types, hairstyles, and visible cultural cues.
Simple in its storytelling, strong in its diversity, this is an entertaining as well as enlightening read. (Early reader. 4-7)