Elisabeth Moseng, Illustrator, Sandra Gilbert Brug, Author, Elizabeth Moseng, Illustrator , illus. by Elisabeth Moseng. S&S/McElderry $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-84580-2

Brüg debuts with this rhythmic gambol in which two animal teams battle it out on the soccer field. The lively and fast-paced action between the Rockets and the Cheetahs plays out in spare rhyming text woven among Moseng's (Time for a Tale) capering cartoon animals. Lacking punctuation (save for a few exclamation points and one question mark), Brüg's quick verse mimics the staccato cadence of a real match. "Kick it/ move it/ zig/ zag/ slide/ Dressed in cleats/ they spin/ and/ glide." Animals ranging from an exotic Malayan Tapir to a sheep (team rosters at the end list the various players) assume gravity-defying angles while wearing sandal-like cleats over hooves and an occasional pair of shin guards. The game is often revealed at ground level through a myriad of stomping and leaping furry legs, though maneuvers also take readers' eyes skyward; a turtle glances nervously upward as an airborne zebra and goat head-butt the ball between them. Given the almost dizzying busyness of each spread, it may take several readings to fully appreciate the on-field antics in the comedic watercolors (a skunk swings from the anteater's nose; the three-toed sloth playing goalie for the Cheetahs hangs from the crossbar). A dynamic ditty. Ages 3-6. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Genre: Children's
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