A bright, sweet story about friendship, teamwork, and the joy of soccer.

WE PLAY SOCCER / JUGAMOS EL FÚTBOL

On a beautiful sunny day, two young boys experience the twists and turns of a soccer game.

Joe warmly greets José as he walks onto the soccer field. They eagerly show off their red uniforms and cleats, then practice keep-ups, juggling soccer balls on their knees. Their enthusiasm is palpable, but when the match begins, they aren’t chosen as starting players. A female coach benches the boys, and though they’re sad at first, the game soon absorbs their attention as they cheer on their teammates. Only when it begins to look like their team might lose are they called onto the field, much to their delight, and the match draws to an exciting conclusion. The story is told entirely through the boys’ dialogue, which appears in speech bubbles. Joe speaks exclusively in English and José, exclusively in Spanish. It’s not clear whether the boys can also speak each other’s languages, and poignantly, it doesn’t matter. The kids clearly understand each other, using body language and context to bolster verbal communication. The bilingual sentence repetition (“I pass the ball to José / Goal! / ¡Gol! / Le paso la pelota a Joe”) creates a realistic and seamless narrative that young children can easily follow while developing both English and Spanish skills. The illustrations are vibrant, and characters are depicted as having various shades of light brown skin. Backmatter helpfully provides direct translations of words that appear in the story.

A bright, sweet story about friendship, teamwork, and the joy of soccer. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4506-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are...

1-2-3 PEAS

After an alphabetical, rhyming tour de force (LMNO Peas, 2010), Baker’s energetic pea pack is back—this time, to count by ones and 10s.

Baker sidesteps the trickiness of rhyming the numerals by selecting a repeating word for each short verse. “ONE pea searching—look, look, look, / TWO peas fishing—hook, hook, hook.” Those numerals rise sky-high (to peas, at least) to dominate the digitally composed visuals, often serving as props for the frenzy of vegetative activity. At “TEN peas building—pound, pound, pound,” the peas erect a wooden platform around the numeral—mainly, it would seem, as an excuse for exuberantly hammering dozens of nails. Baker circumvents those oft-pesky ’teens in one deft double-page spread: “Eleven to nineteen—skip, skip, skip!” Then it’s a double-page spread per decade, with peas traveling, napping, watching fireworks and more. “SEVENTY peas singing” provide a bevy of details to spy: A fab foursome (the Peatles) rocks out above a chorus and director. Nearby, a barbershop quartet, a Wagnerian soloist, a showering pea and a dancing “Peayoncé” add to the fun. 

Whether they’re counting scores of peas, enjoying the rhymes and puns or relishing the funny visual quirks, families are sure to devour Baker’s latest winner. Totally ap-pea-ling! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-4551-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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