Madani’s Best Game

Eerdmans. Oct. 2022. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780802855978.
Gr 2-4–This picture book tells the story of Madani, the best soccer player in the neighborhood. He plays with bare feet, scoring goal after goal. His mother, working as a seamstress, hears the distant cheers, but is unable to attend the game due to the amount of work she has. Madani has been saving up all his money, and the children assume it is to buy cleats. However, when Madani returns from his day at the store, he is still barefoot. What he spends his money on leads to his best game ever. The text is told from the children’s point of view and is poetic and simple. The soft palette is created with pencil, gouache, and colored pencils. Engaging illustrations are filled with a lot of action and characters for readers to explore. Most of the characters appear white, with a few characters of color in the background. An author’s note explains that the story was inspired by Pintadera’s experiences with the children in immigrant housing while he was a social worker.
VERDICT A good purchase to add to sports collections, books on family, or those on sportsmanship.

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