by Matt Christopher
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
Personal Evaluation: This book struck me as incredibly dated and the kids were almost too innocent to be believable. I think this would appeal to a much younger audience now than when it first came out, which I was surprised to discover was not even 20 years ago. For example, the main character says of his former best friend, “a no-good, miserable, dirty–” and his mother admonishes him, saying “You don’t use that kind of language.” His little sister calls someone stupid and the mother says, “behave yourself” (p.94-95). When their neighbor’s house catches fire, the father pulls an alarm on a pole across the street to call for the fire truck. I was 12 in 1994, when this book came out, and I remember nothing like that. But besides those details, the story is a solid one of hurt feelings, friendship in need of repair and teamwork – and of course lots of soccer.
What might interest children: This is definitely a book for sports fans, and probably not for non-sports-fans. Kids who have had friendships tested out on the field will follow the play-by-play easily and with interest. I would probably stick to Christopher’s more recent books, though – hopefully they are more culturally current. I hope to read one for another category later in the semester.