Thursday, 7 June 2012

Happy Like Soccer

 by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by Lauren Castillo (Walker Books)
HC RRP $29.95
ISBN 9780763646165
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Sometimes words are not enough to describe beauty and excellence. That is the case with this book.

Soccer makes Sierra happy and sad. She plays hard at soccer and loves it. Sierra lives with her auntie who works at a restaurant that is busy on the days Sierra plays soccer. ‘When she hugs me goodbye, I know she can feel me low around the edges’. That is her sadness, that there is no one to cheer her on or watch her play when ‘every girl has someone there but me’. Sierra longs for her auntie to be at the game; to hear her name and not her number being called from the crowd.

Something wonderful happens to turn an unhappy situation into a dream come true for the hard-playing Sierra and her hard-working auntie.

This is a beautifully written book with amazing illustrations produced in ink and watercolour with acetone transfer. The artwork is unique and appears in landscape across the page giving a wonderful sense of space – open and limitless. On the single picture pages the images are large and lively and filled with detail. The backgrounds that are painted in watercolours add substance to each page on paper of extraordinary quality. There is an excellent jacket depicting Sierra playing on the field across the back and front, and if the covers are opened up, it produces an expansive landscape image again. This is another extraordinary picture book to look out for.

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