cover image The Soccer Mom from Outer Space

The Soccer Mom from Outer Space

Barney Saltzberg. Crown Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-517-80063-8

Readers will surely get a kick out of Saltzberg's (The Flying Garbanzos) hyperbolic portrait of an uncommonly spirited soccer mom. The night before Lena's first soccer game, her father announces that it is time she heard the story of a boy named Ruben and his mother, Mrs. Drinkwater. When Lena says, ""Hey! This is about you and Grandma!"" her father wryly responds that it is ""a story about another boy named Ruben Drinkwater and his mom!"" In the tale that follows, Mrs. Drinkwater wails ""like a human siren"" at Ruben's first soccer gameDplaying for the Atomic PicklesDand generally starts acting ""as if she came from outer space."" At subsequent games, she wears a hat shaped like a pickle and then an oversize pickle costume, complete with a cheerleader's skirt and pom-poms. But when Mrs. Drinkwater accedes to Ruben's plea to ""act like the other parents,"" he is unprepared for the results. Whimsical illustrations compound the fun, as in an image of Ruben using a periscope to spy on his mother from his bathtub, in hopes of determining if she really is an alien, and in the parting shot of Lena's parents (and her dog) arriving at her inaugural game for the Galactic Grapes, the three of them dressed as guess what? This soccer sortie scores high in hilarity. Ages 5-8. (June)