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GOAL! by Mina Javaherbin


by Mina Javaherbin & illustrated by A.G. Ford

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4571-7
Publisher: Candlewick

A group of friends enjoys a game of soccer in the street, fending off bullies and cleverly protecting their prized new regulation soccer ball. Kids who don’t read the author’s note won’t know that this game takes place in South Africa, but they’ll certainly see the poverty the kids face, as Ford’s oil paintings show dirt streets, patched shacks and clothing that is worn and torn. They’ll also recognize the thrill of having something brand new and root for the younger kids to outwit the bullies. They have more trouble following the action. It takes a keen eye to figure out who’s who, and the pictures have a static feel that contrasts with first-time author Javaherbin’s breathless play-by-play narration. The danger posed by the older boys is unclear but ominous, implied by the fact that one of the boys sits out the game as a guard. The paintings are realistic and evocatively capture the dusty alley and an incongruously lovely sunset, but ultimately neither words nor pictures come fully to life. (Picture book. 7-9)