Goal! illus. by Caio Vilela. 40p. maps. photos. Holt. 2014. RTE $17.99. ISBN 9781627791236.
Gr 1–4—Eye-catching photographs and straightforward text introduce soccer and showcase the accessibility and universality of the sport. The opening endpaper—a close-up image of well-worn soccer balls stowed in a net bag—sets the tone, conveying that this book is about real kids who play a much-loved game. Displayed on handsomely designed spreads, Vilela's vivid images capture the exuberance of young footballers representing an assortment of countries and cultures. For instance, a Brazilian boy performs a perfectly timed header, a smiling youngster dribbles in a field near England's Stonehenge, a teen sporting flip flops juggles a ball in Ghana, and two kids vie for ball possession in the streets of Iran. Photos of Tanzanian children playing with a sphere cleverly fashioned from wire and rags or barefoot youngsters in India kicking a ball in a dusty spot beneath a tree emphasize the fact soccer that can be enjoyed almost anywhere and does not require expensive equipment. Boxed soccer facts about each country are included, and an outline map showing their locations is appended. A rousing celebration of global diversity and the game that unites us all.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
The uniqueness, excitement, and universality of soccer are the focus of this appealing book: "Where there's a ball, there will always be someone who wants to play soccer." Dynamic photographs capture children playing the sport in fifteen different countries, including Brazil, Ghana, Iran, and New Zealand. Soccer facts for each country are highlighted, and a world map is included.

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