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WONDER GOAL! by Michael Foreman


by Michael Foreman & illustrated by Michael Foreman

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2003
ISBN: 0-374-38500-9
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Dreams do come true in Foreman’s (Playtime Rhymes, 2002, etc.) story of kicking a big goal in a soccer match; they come true with amazing alacrity. A new boy on the squad gets the ritual ribbing, which he takes in stride, but he knows that a goal at the right time would secure his place on the team and in his teammates’ estimation. He follows his dad’s advice—“Head over the ball. Balance. Power. Timing”—and then that golden, transcendent moment: “As soon as he kicked it, he knew it was going to be a goal.” From here, the story moves out of body and time, and the young boy is a young man, now on a World Cup team, this time his father’s in the stands, watching as he finds that exquisite moment again, but now it’s before tens of thousands. Foreman works a good visual transition from the playground to the professional soccer field, loading the page-and-a-half spreads with action and the color of sport pageantry. As the boys take the field, for instance, the clouds overhead form the shapes of the adult players they will become. His endpapers are full of soccer snaps from around the world, the penultimate page echoes as adults the boys on the cover. Lots of a good thing here—and to his credit, Foreman doesn’t come across as having overindulged the fantasy. (Picture book. 4-8)