GOAL

Burleigh uses the familiar game of soccer to demonstrate the power of teamwork to achieve success. Down to the last few minutes of a league soccer game with the score tied, the goal in this case is scoring and winning. Short, clipped phrases are used to convey the pace and intensity in the final moments of a tight game. "Players backpedaling. / Digging heels. / Explosions of gouged grass. / Mark tight! Guard the line!" Reading it out loud causes a certain breathiness, like listening to one of the players zigzagging across the field. Describing what it's like to be charging "in a wall of wild bodies," knees flailing, "all wheeling as one," watching the "goaltender's catlike leap," the text is given minimal space. This leaves lots of room for the action-packed pastels whose blurry outlines illustrate the fast-paced drama on the field. Close-ups take the reader off the sidelines and right into the play. Although general in its philosophical aim of promoting the positive aspects of teamwork, this book has some very soccer-specific terms, such as “needle's-eye chink,” and “chip pass unspooling,” sure to delight soccer enthusiasts. Even non-soccer players can appreciate that glorious feeling of team victory. In the end, both male and female teammates are just happy champions who leap, dance, cheer, and put their hands together, one on top of the other, to celebrate their achievement. On the very last page there's an illustration of a soccer ball entangled in the net for the final, winning "Goal. / Goal. / GOAL." A real winner. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-201789-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.

A PLACE FOR PLUTO

If Pluto can’t be a planet—then what is he?

Having been a regular planet for “the better part of forever,” Pluto is understandably knocked out of orbit by his sudden exclusion. With Charon and his four other moons in tow he sets off in search of a new identity. Unfortunately, that only spins him into further gloom, as he doesn’t have a tail like his friend Halley’s comet, is too big to join Ida and the other asteroids, and feels disinclined to try to crash into Earth like meteoroids Gem and Persi. Then, just as he’s about to plunge into a black hole of despair, an encounter with a whole quartet of kindred spheroids led by Eris rocks his world…and a follow-up surprise party thrown by an apologetic Saturn (“Dwarf planet has a nice RING to it”) and the other seven former colleagues literally puts him “over the moon.” Demmer gives all the heavenly bodies big eyes (some, including the feminine Saturn, with long lashes) and, on occasion, short arms along with distinctive identifying colors or markings. Dressing the troublemaking meteoroids in do-rags and sunglasses sounds an off note. Without mentioning that the reclassification is still controversial, Wade closes with a (somewhat) straighter account of Pluto’s current official status and the reasons for it.

Make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-004-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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THE FENWAY FOUL-UP

BALLPARK MYSTERIES, #1

From the Ballpark Mysteries series , Vol. 1

A new series for emerging chapter-book readers combines the allure of baseball parks with the challenge of solving a mystery. Mike and Kate have tickets to a Red Sox game and an all-access pass to the park, courtesy of Kate's mom, a sportswriter. The pass comes in handy when it's reported that star player Big D's lucky bat has been stolen, as it allows them to help find the thief. Historical details about Fenway Park, including the secret code found on the manual scoreboard, a look at Wally the mascot and a peek into the gift shop, will keep the young baseball fan reading, even when the actual mystery of the missing bat falls a little flat. Writing mysteries for very young readers is a challenge—the puzzle has to be easy enough to solve while sustaining readers' interest. This slight adventure is more baseball-park travel pamphlet than mystery, a vehicle for providing interesting details about one of the hallowed halls of baseball. Not a homerun, but certainly a double for the young enthusiast. On deck? The Pinstripe Ghost, also out on Feb. 22, 2011. (historical notes) (Mystery. 6-9)

 

 

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86703-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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