cover image Soccer is a Kick

Soccer is a Kick

S. S. Gorman. Pocket Books, $2.99 (137pp) ISBN 978-0-671-70380-6

Sixth-grader Chris Morton desperately wants to win the respect of his overbearing father, a former athlete, and chooses soccer as a way to excel. He's good, too, except when Mr. Morton attends the games. Chris becomes confused when his father yells out instructions, and mortified when he argues with the referee. Chris also hates the unattractive athletic shoes his father urges him to wear, which invite derision from members of an opposing team. Ultimately, though, Chris is forced to confront his parent and, aided by some teammates, he quells the taunts of his adversaries by winning a championship game. In this first book of the High Fives series, anyone who is not a hardcore soccer enthusiast may be put off by the numerous technical terms and play-by-play activity. As for characterization, Chris's best friend Stretch is more admirable and consistent than Chris, who exhibits such incongruities as stealing from the father he fears and heaping praise on a relentless bully. Dealing with intimidation is an identifiable theme, however--one that may help to increase the book's appeal. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)