Pelé: The King of Soccer

Eddy Simon, trans. from the French by Joe Johnson, illus. by Vincent Brascaglia. First Second, $15.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-62672-755-7
Pelé, the Brazilian soccer player famous around the world, is an ideal subject for a graphic biography. His career was a dizzying rags-to-riches story. When Edson Arantes do Nascimento was born, his family had just installed their first electric light, and they named him after Thomas Edison (he acquired his nickname later). His father, a soccer player whose climb to fame was ruined by an early injury, nurtured his son’s talent. Pelé’s rise to fame was meteoric; he played in his first World Cup match at 17 and gave the car he won to his father. More glory as a player awaited, but his life was complicated by political upheaval in Brazil and by personal crises. His greatest pleasure was to slip away and find ordinary children to practice with. Brascaglia crams as much information and drama into his panels as Simon does into the text. An extra dimension is Pelé’s status as an athlete of color in a country where whites held power. The story is gripping straight through, and a sterling choice for reluctant readers. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/11/2017
Release date: 10/24/2017
Hardcover - 144 pages - 978-1-62672-979-7
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