Publishers WeeklyThis third sports picture book from Nevius and Thomson (after Baseball Hour and Karate Hour) guides readers through an evening of soccer practice, as kids work on their shooting, footwork, and passing. Though Nevius's rhymed couplets are wooden at times ("In soccer hour we learn to think;/ we come prepared with ball and drink"), Thomson's hyperreal acrylic and pencil illustrations are as showstopping as ever. The kids' scrimmage jerseys and an array of bright soccer balls are the only spots of color in the warm gray spreads, making it all the easier for readers to follow that age-old piece of athletic wisdom: "Keep your eye on the ball!" Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
Time for soccer hourrun, kick, goal!
Children's Literature - Kirsten ShawNevius adds to her growing collection of sports themed books for children with Soccer Hour, providing a fantastic introduction to the global sport. Children follow a soccer team through their practice learning about the game and its fundamentals in rhyme. Nevius' rhymes are clever, fun, and appealing, but the real star of the book is Thomson's realistic illustrations. At first glance these pictures look computer generated, however, a publication note informs the reader that Thomson sketched and painted each drawing by hand using colored pencils and acrylic paint. The details in his paintings are incredible as he captures everything from the glare on the soccer ball from the sun to the tiny beads of sweat in players' hair. While the book does contain some sports jargon that only someone familiar with the sport would recognize, the engaging rhymes and captivating illustrations are sure to capture the attention of any young reader or sports fan. Reviewer: Kirsten Shaw
School Library JournalK-Gr 2—As in Karate Hour (2004) and Baseball Hour (2008, both Marshall Cavendish), this book offers a winning combination of rhyming couplets and striking artwork to describe an hour of practice among boys and girls. While the text reads in bursts of active statements—"We jump small hurdles, bending knees;/weave through cones in groups of threes"—the extraordinary illustrations are the essence of the book. Thomson uses acrylics and colored pencils to create realistic paintings that almost resemble sepia photographs. Readers' eyes are drawn to the spot of color (red for a shirt or green or blue for soccer balls) on each spread. Children will find the variety of perspectives, such as a ball sent into a goal or a head shot, memorable, and adults will be pleased that the book lends itself well for use with groups.—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
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