cover image Soccer Circus

Soccer Circus

Jamie Gilson. HarperCollins, $15 (177pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12021-4

`` `I can't believe you did it,' my dad said.'' And, not surprisingly, the rapscallion Hobie is off and running smack dab into trouble--in this case, riding his bicycle through wet cement, for openers, in this seventh installment of the popular lad's monkeyshines. Later, finding himself at the Megadome Motel (participation in a soccer tournament includes an overnight), Hobie becomes embroiled in the intrigue of a murder mystery weekend, a clown wedding and the ubiquitous horseplay of his teammates. As usual in these spirited tales, Hobie's good intentions blend with slapsticky episodes to create kid-pleasing farce. The plot here seems occasionally disjointed, though possessed of that particular logic clear to youngsters. A typically frenetic pace, comical dialogue (``If I'd known it was going to turn out like this I would never ever have allowed you to be a penguin'')--and, of course, the presence front and center of the always-likable Hobie guarantee another good time for Gilson's many fans. Illustrations not seen by PW . Ages 8-up. (Mar.)