cover image The Field

The Field

Baptiste Paul, illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara. NorthSouth, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4312-7

A boisterous and unfettered love of futbol is at the heart of this energetic picture book from debut talents Paul and Alcántara, set on an unspecified Caribbean island. Alcantara’s kinetic illustrations reflect the joy and camaraderie that the game brings to the young players: two twins walk in lock-step to set up a goal made from bamboo shoots, the children are forced to clear the field of cows before the game can begin, and players slip and slide dramatically as a storm sets in. Paul’s punchy, declarative text clearly communicates that the players won’t be hindered by stubborn livestock, downpours, slippery mud, or beckoning mamas; they overcome each obstacle together, as a team. Paul moves casually between English and Creole; definitions are included, but the meanings are generally spelled out (“Ou byen? You okay? Mwen byen. I’m good”). The children’s elongated, exaggerated movements create an almost constant sense of motion in Alcántara’s vividly colored paintings, and their enthusiasm for futbol is infectious. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Adriana Dominguez, Full Circle Literary. (Mar.) [/em]