The next level by Tim Cahill and Julian Grey
Illus. by Heath McKenzie. Tiny Timmy book 9. Scholastic,
2019, ISBN: 9781760666118.
(Age: 7-9) Recommended. Themes: Soccer, Competitions, Peer Pressure, Self-esteem. Tiny Timmy's a dedicated young soccer player who knows to practise hard, listen to the coach's instructions and eat the right foods to stay healthy. After a great practice session, Coach Roach calls Timmy and his friends Ricardo and Mike over for a chat. Studs and Hacker tag along as they hate being left out of anything. Coach Higgins wants the three boys to try out for the trials with the possibility of making The Blues, the state team.
The weekend is filled with warm ups, practice drills and team games, as the five coaches observe the players who stand out, showing their individual strengths, team spirit and drive. Coach Valance is a comedian as well, trying to lighten the mood as many of the players don't make the final cut. Hacker and Studs try to muscle in on the practice, hiding in sports bags and jumping out to surprise everyone. The coaches agree they can come to the State games to look after the equipment and clean the boots!
The excitement and anticipation build, and when Timmy is chosen, he's in awe of some other bigger confident guys especially Toni and his friends. Over the weekend of the state competition, Timmy learns some valuable lessons on and off the field: he realises the need to stand up for himself, not to give in to peer pressure and believe in himself.
Tim Cahill's soccer tips, game play and personal experiences add realism to the Tiny Timmy series. This easy to read chapter book features text with different sizes of font, words in bold and in graduated sizes, animated words and bigger spacing. Heath McKenzie's line drawings are humourous snapshots of Timmy's life, his friends and the soccer games. This series is great for high interest, lower reading age students as well.