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I KICK THE BALL / PATEO EL BALÓN by Gwendolyn Zepeda


by Gwendolyn Zepeda, illustrated by Pablo Torrecilla

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 31st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-55885-688-2
Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

With an underlying message of good nutrition and daily exercise, Zepeda introduces a young boy struggling to balance school and chores with his dreams of future soccer stardom.

After school, Toñito is on his suburban front lawn with his soccer ball. Lost in a fantasy world, he runs as fast as a race car, kicks his ball high in the sky and jumps as high as a fish. He is playing soccer before imaginary cheering crowds when he finally hears his mother’s call of “Toñito! TOÑITO! Luis Antonio!” Toñito completes his homework and willingly eats his dinner of chicken, cabbage, spinach, rice and fruit, describing how each of these foods fuels “his soccer machine.” Soon it is time for bed, where the young boy’s active imagination carries over into his dreams. The first-person tale concludes with Toñito’s opportune realization that he can attain his dreams if he maintains his healthy lifestyle. Torrecilla’s vibrant full-page, animation-inspired illustrations often feature multiple dynamic versions of Toñito, mirroring the energetic and occasionally onomatopoeic text. On facing pages, smaller illustrations separate bilingual text blocks (English over Spanish), which vary in length, complexity and subtlety. Bilingual text, a focus on the imagination and inventive visual elements save this story from the overt didacticism typical in health and nutrition picture books.

A good bet for young soccer fans. (Picture book. 4-8)