Featuring dozens of emblematic soccer players, this picture book lives up to its subtitle as the “ultimate alphabet book” for the young soccer/football enthusiast.
Lionel Messi, the yellow card, Pelé, the bicycle kick, Mia Hamm: This soccer-themed alphabet book features concepts and notable players from past and present. Going beyond a mere depiction of the players, it employs a humorous approach, through clever takes on both the players’ names and monikers as well as game situations and soccer lingo. Each page/letter has an unexpected twist to it—a surprising pun, a semi-obscure reference…not exactly what one would expect. For instance, Pelé, the Brazilian legend, is found not under the letter P but K, as he is the “King” of the game; similarly, Diego Maradona, one of last century’s legends, is not under the letter M but under H, as in the “Hand of God,” referencing the infamous illegal goal he scored with his hand in the 1986 World Cup. The subject matter yields some inspiring choices for typically difficult letters: “V is for Vuvuzela,” natch, and “Z is for Zizou in Zebra Stripes.” However, “X is for XI” (as in 11 players) is a little pallid and will need some unpacking for younger readers. In addition to appearing on the copyright page, women are confined to two entries: “Queen” Marta and team “USA” (where Hamm appears).
An imaginative take on the alphabet-book genre that’s sure to gain a place in the hearts of soccer fans. (Informational picture book. 4-8)