Crazy About Soccer
By Loris Lesynski
Illustrated by Gerry Rasmussen
In a great picture book, words and illustrations work together seamlessly, each carrying its share of the load. Annick Press has got this down pat. Book after book that rolls off their press provides this incredibly rich reading experience where words and illustrations together set the mood: serious, funny or just plain silly.
There is a lightness to the verse. Even poems that are not laugh-out silly have a light touch:
can be a net.
can be a ball.
play the game
Here are a couple of lines about soccer uniforms:
Some have so much padding, it’s a secret who’s inside it.
The poems are so much fun to read and to read aloud. They are perfect for third grade readers to memorize, and recite on the playground, at home or “anywhere at all”. Some rhymes may have been difficult to achieve, but not once does the author falter on the rhythm:
they’ll find a way to harvest watts
from energy in soccer shots.
And the gorgeous illustrations march hand-in-hand with the text. One illustration describes the (fake) equation Speed Of Arms Causes Speed Of Legs, another depicts a thirsty player turning into a cactus. The picture of the boy with an extra pair of feet, the very detailed illustration of a foot, the bossy brain illustration all cause instant giggles.
The last poem has a slower pace, a beautiful idea: soccer players laying on the grass on a moonlit night imagining the moon as a soccer ball. Did they really toss the moon around or did they dream it? Its surface sure has dents to prove that they did!
Young readers’ reading skills will improve as they make a chant of the very first poem:
Take away the uniforms,
take away the cleats,
Take away the cheering crowds
take away the seats.
(all the way to the end)
It isn’t in the extras
The game is in the ball.
Soccer fans will love the poems, non-players will become instant converts. Like the player in Seven Nine Six, they’ll learn to run and also read the book that gives the history, geography and rules of the game.
About the Author: http://www.lorislesynski.com/about.html
Ideas for Activities: http://www.lorislesynski.com/activities.html
About Writing and Drawing: http://www.lorislesynski.com/writing.html
17 Basic Rules of Soccer: http://www.lenapesoccer.org/docs/soccer_rules.pdf