Morgan Plays Soccer

Overview

Morgan Brownbear's new friend Nina Jane Monkey loves soccer so much that soon Morgan is sure he wants to play too. But soccer has a lot of rules, and Morgan keeps breaking the most important one of all: He can't seem to stop catching the ball with his hands! Morgan is so embarrassed, he doesn't want to play soccer anymore. But Nina Jane helps Morgan stay in the game by showing him exactly what he needs-practice!

Budding athletes will understand Morgan's early frustrations and ...

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Overview

Morgan Brownbear's new friend Nina Jane Monkey loves soccer so much that soon Morgan is sure he wants to play too. But soccer has a lot of rules, and Morgan keeps breaking the most important one of all: He can't seem to stop catching the ball with his hands! Morgan is so embarrassed, he doesn't want to play soccer anymore. But Nina Jane helps Morgan stay in the game by showing him exactly what he needs-practice!

Budding athletes will understand Morgan's early frustrations and will cheer when he triumphs in this uplifting story about what it means to be a good sport.

Morgan Brownbear has trouble playing soccer until his coach, Mr. Monkey, finds the perfect position for him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Morgan Brownbear moves into a new house, his next-door neighbor (and confirmed jock) Nina Jane Monkey talks him into going out for soccer. "On Saturday morning Morgan couldn't wait to put on his soccer clothes." But on the field, it's a different story, especially when he trips over the ball while dribbling and catches it in his hands. Under Nina Jane's tutelage, Morgan improves, but during the team's first scrimmage, he once again instinctively uses his hands to catch the ball. Luckily, his savvy coach turns Morgan's instincts into a strength by assigning him the position of goalie. Rockwell spotlights a common childhood scenario in this straightforward and agile tale, and the hapless Morgan will likely win sympathy from budding athletes and sports enthusiasts. Cheery watercolor and gouache illustrations convey the friends' dedicated practice drills, while an assortment of animal characters in soccer uniforms notably the giraffe in the purple team shirt add a light comic touch. Ages 4-6. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Just as clothes do not make the man, a soccer jersey received as a gift does not make a soccer player out of Morgan Brownbear. At least not until he visits his new neighborhood's soccer fanatic, Nina Jane Monkey. Even her father is a soccer coach, and eventually Morgan is convinced that he wants to play, too. After the soccer accouterments are purchased, Morgan can't wait for Saturday morning practice. During practice, Mr. Monkey teaches all players their moves and explains the rules, including NO HANDS. Morgan discovers he is only good at a few soccer things—kicking and running. He is not so good at dribbling and not using his hands. Morgan is embarrassed after practice and wants to quit since he feels like a failure. Undaunted, Nina Jane encourages him to give it another try and she will be his personal coach. Morgan agrees to this second chance and even plays in the team scrimmage. Morgan forgets everything Nina Jane has taught him and does what seems natural—using his hands. The coach's quick thinking finds a place for Morgan doing just that—as the goalie. The characters in this story are depicted as always being helpful to one another, a trait more children should be exposed to. Done with cheerful illustrations and simple colors, the characters are the focal point of this happily ending story. All types of readers will relate to the message of not feeling good enough in one area. With the help and support of strong friends and 'coaches,' anyone can find their niche and succeed, just by being themselves, naturally. 2001, HarperCollins, $14.95. Ages 4 to 6. Reviewer:Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Morgan Brownbear wants to learn to play soccer and his friend Nina Jane Monkey is willing to help. Her father the coach reminds his team to "Kick the ball! Dribble it! But don't carry it in your hands!" However, whenever Morgan gets excited, he catches the ball. Mr. Monkey solves the problem by asking Morgan to be the goalie and the youngster meets with success. Making good use of white space and a variety of layouts from full page to two-page spreads, Meisel creates colorful scenes from watercolor and gouache on lanaquarelle paper. One small quibble-Nina Jane shows Morgan how to kick the ball with a "pointed" toe, whereas most young players learn to control the ball by kicking with the inside of their foot or perhaps the top of it. An appealing addition for that ever-popular soccer season.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Aspiring sportsters can take a lesson from Morgan, Rockwell's ("Bugs Are Insects", p. 665, etc.) frustrated soccer player who, with the help of a friend and a patient coach, learns how to play this game of the feet with his hands. Morgan Brownbear is anxious to learn soccer, but he just can't overcome his tendency to catch the ball. His pal, Nina Jane Monkey, puts him through drills, which Morgan loves, but again when it comes game time, he gets so excited he reverts to using his hands. Morgan's first response is to give up, but his coach, Mr. Monkey, has a brainstorm: Why not put Morgan in the goal where he can turn a liability into an asset? Why not indeed. Morgan becomes a stellar performer as a goalie, stopping even the kicks from his ace pal, Nina Jane. Rockwell's tale is obvious, but also highly appropriate, building on Morgan's strengths without resorting to an improbable circumstance for him to blossom. Meisel's ("Cool, Crazy Crickets to the Rescue", p. 658, etc.) lively artwork captures the fun of being out on a great lawn and kicking a ball around, but the best scene is indoors, where every reader will fall in love with Nina Jane's alligator bed. "(Picture book. 4-6)"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060284442
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/7/2001
  • Series: Good Sports
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne and Lizzy Rockwell have collaborated on all the Mrs. Madoff books, including St. Patrick's Day and Presidents' Day, and Who Lives in an Alligator Hole? in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. Anne is the author of What's So Bad About Gasoline?; Brendan and Belinda and the Slam Dunk!; Why Are the Ice Caps Melting?; and Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth. Lizzy is the author-illustrator of Good Enough to Eat; The Busy Body Book; and Hello Baby! Both Anne and Lizzy live in Connecticut.

Paul Meisel has illustrated many books for children, including Why Are the Ice Caps Melting?, Energy Makes Things Happen, and What Happens to Our Trash? in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. He lives in Newtown, Connecticut.

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