Happy like soccer by Maribeth Boelts
Ill. by Lauren Castillo, Candlewick Press, 2012. ISBN 978 0 7636
(Ages: 6+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Sierra knows that soccer is the thing which makes her the happiest of all, but it is also sad, as her aunt cannot be there to see her play. Each Saturday she is picked up by the coach and driven to the pitch many miles away. She would love her aunt to be there. When their match is delayed by rain, she has an idea and asks the coach if they can play in the vacant allotment next door allowing her aunt to watch. He readily agrees and so Sierra has all her happiest times together at last.
A lovely story extolling the virtues of family and resolution, this story with its bold, seemingly simple drawing style will appeal to many children. All of those who love soccer will be absorbed while those who live in the city and know the problems of getting a spare space to play in will also read it with pleasure. There are many subtle things about this book which will appeal to the younger reader. The family in this story is not the classic family, the two sharing a bedroom in their little house, one of a group of small terraced houses, and the vacant allotment next door, is not the most ideal place to play soccer. Portraying a child not normally seen in picture books is encouraging and the neat resolution of her problem, one that can be discussed and emulated.