Saturday, July 17, 2010

Review: Pelé King of Soccer

This summer, our Infant Bibliophile had a fantastic time in his first "itty bitty soccer" class.  You would expect nothing less than adorable from a class with "itty bitty" in its title, and we got it:

The only sad thing is that the class only lasted for one month, and I'm not sure where to go from here to continue his interest in any formal way, given that he isn't yet three years old.  For now, we play with our soccer ball often and, of course, will pick up any soccer books we see!

So, I was delighted when I was asked recently to review the book below, which not only includes soccer, but is also a bilingual Spanish book.

Pelé King of Soccer / El rey del fútbol, by Monica Brown.  This book tells the story of Pelé, "King of Soccer."  We follow his journey from a young boy growing up in Brazil (shining shoes and selling meat pies to help his poor family), playing soccer in the streets with his father, and later forming a soccer team with his friends - barefoot because they couldn't afford shoes.  Pelé is invited to try out for his first professional soccer team, and of course goes on to win three World Cups and become the first soccer player to score 1,000 goals.  The story is told in English and repeated in Spanish on the same page.  The vivid illustrations have a dreamlike quality to them, with bright, swirling images.  This would be a wonderful read for any young bibliophiles who became enthralled with the World Cup action this year.
"Can Pelé score three goals in one game, a hat trick?  He traps the ball with his thighs and ankles, and before it even touches the ground, he shoots.  Pelé and his team have won again.  The crowd chants, 'Pelé!  Pelé!  O Rei!  Pelé!  The King!'"
Bookworm's interest at 2 years, 8 months: The book's targeted age, per the book jacket, is 4-8 years, so we are on the young side for it.  We generally don't let that stop us.  We have read this twice - once reading both the English and the Spanish (and only making it halfway through) and again reading only the English (and finishing the whole thing).  It keeps his interest.  He vaguely understands the idea of the World Cup, and he likes soccer, but the illustrations might be a little too artistic for him to understand exactly what is happening in them.   I'm glad to have this one on our shelves, though; I would definitely recommend it for an older child, and we will continue to read it too.

Me: Did you like this book?
Bibliophile: I liked it a little bit.
Me: What did you like about it?
Bibliophile: That it has English and Spanish!
Me: Do you think that an older boy would like it even more?
Bibliophile: Umm, yes!

Daddy also reports that the Bibliophile later explained to him that Pelé's father was sad because they didn't win the World Cup (before Pelé was playing on the team).  It always amazes me how much a child picks up on when you think they are not paying attention or understanding.

Comment: Do your kids play sports?  When did they start?  Do you have any other books about soccer that you enjoy/recommend?

Disclosure: We were provided a publisher copy of Pelé King of Soccer in order to write this review.  If you purchase anything by clicking on the links in this post, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with


Britt said...

Boo did soccer a couple years ago and REALLY wants to do it again. Which will of course mean Mister will want to do it too.

We got a copy of the Pele book too, but haven't read it yet. After all the world cup madness in my house my kids either will love it or are so sick of soccer talk that they'll hate it! lol

Infant Bibliophile said...

I just found another month-long class to sign him up for for August, so I'm excited. This one is a little more rules-focused (not sure how successful the instructor will be at teaching rules to 2-4 year olds, but we'll see!). I'm sure he'll love it.

Jen said...

Both of my girls play soccer. They started around 3 and have played on and off. I think it's a wonderful sport for kids- keeps them active and involved with other children.

Jen from Creative and Curious Kids!

ps I noticed you listed an idea about paper dolls on another blog- a comment, I think. I love this idea. Are they just plain doll outlines?

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Jen thanks for commenting! Yes, the paper dolls are shaped like girls and boys, and they are a sturdy posterboard. I buy them at Michael's. I can't remember the price exactly, but something like 10 in a pack for $3 maybe? My son loves them. I had to go back for more recently.