Soccer Beat

Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2003

Newly Released in Paperback!  (September 2012)

by Sandra Gilbert Brug, illustrated by Elisabeth Moseng,     published by Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)

ISBN: 0-689-84580-4


Soccer players nimble feet/hustle at the soccer meet … The Rockets and Cheetahs, two spunky multi-animal teams, square off in this     high energy, fast-paced game of soccer! For ages 2-6

Kirkus Reviews 2003: “Newcomer Brug scores points for rhythm and rhyme in this energetic depiction of a soccer match between a bunch of animals. ‘On the green / two teams are prancing / Rockets leaping / Cheetah’s chancing,’ she begins. In one of Moseng’s lively watercolor spreads, a zebra, camel, dog, and duck chase the ball. They sport numbered jerseys; the giraffe even wears shin guards. ‘Skip it / hop it / pass it / pop it / toward the net / Oh, who can stop it?” It’s so much fun, readers won’t want to stop. Back matter contains a roster of players by jersey number, so readers can identify the 22 animals pictured in Moseng’s full-bleed spreads. Number 1 on the Cheetahs: a three-toed sloth. The Rockets’ number 1 is a wild boar, making this a real kick for young soccer players.”

Publishers Weekly 2003: Brug debuts with this rhythmic gambol in which two animal teams battle it out on the soccer field. The lively and fast-paced action between the Rockets and the Cheetahs plays out in spare rhyming text woven among Moseng’s capering cartoon animals. Lacking punctuation … Brug’s quick verse mimics the staccato cadence of a real match … Animals ranging from an exotic Malayan Tapir to a sheep (team rosters at the end list the various players) assume gravity-defying angles while wearing sandal-like cleats over hooves and an occasional pair of shin guards. The game is often revealed at ground level through a myriad of stomping and leaping furry legs, though maneuvers also take readers’ eyes skyward: a a turtle glances nervously upward as an airborne zebra and goat head-butt the ball between them. Given the almost dizzying busyness of each spread, it may take several readings to fully appreciate the on-field antics in the comedic watercolors (a skunk swings from the anteater’s nose; the three-toed sloth playing goalie for the Cheetahs hangs from the crossbar). A dynamic ditty. Ages 3-6″

Booklist 2003: “Rhymed phrases skitter across the pages like the speeding ball in this super-charged soccer match: ‘Soccer players’ nimble feet / hustle at the soccer meet” …In bright cartoon scenes, Moseng adds strong comic elements to the struggle by casting each player as a different animal(picture a giraffe in shirt and knee pads) posed in twisted postures, generally in midair. One goal is guarded by a three-toed sloth; luckily for its team, most of the action takes place around the other, defended–unsuccessfully, as it turns out–by a ferocious looking wild boar. Children, soccer players or not, will be swept up by the quickening pace, until the final ‘dribble dribble faster more! SLAM that checkered ball/to SCORE!’ Brug scores, too with this good-humored, high-energy debut.

School Library Journal 2003: “Rhymed couplets describe various animals playing soccer. Readers will enjoy listening to the pulsing beat as the players ‘Kick it move it/zigzag slide./ Dressed in cleats/they spin and glide.’ The plot is thin; the book’s strength is in Moseng’s bright and colorful watercolor artwork of cartoon-like creatures that are shown from a variety of perspectives. Children can watch the action from beneath the tall giraffes legs or nose-to-nose with the warthog goalie. Text shows movement and is scattered around the action of the game. The final page names the different animals on both teams; however, they are listed by shirt number, which is often not discernible. ”

Montana Parent 2003: “In a rollicking fun soccer game between the Rockets and the Cheetahs, Brug understands the joy of language and the thrill of the game. Moseng’s lively illustrations keep the reader interested in the back and forth play as giraffes, bulldogs, boars and geese compete for a goal. Brug uses rhythm and rhyme to move the story forward, active language pushes the tension, as adjectives galore roll off the tongue … Soccer fans of all ages will enjoy this book again and again.”

Boston Herald 2003: “Soccer Beat by Sandra Gilbert Brug is a rhyming, rocking good time. The text describing this fun game between the Rockets and the Cheetahs has a rhythm that simply begs to be read aloud again and again. Bold, vibrant illustrations match it perfectly–scoring a point on goal.”

Green Bay News-Chronicle: “Soccer Beat” is a real gem of a picture book. Sandra Gilbert Brug’s rhyming text and Elisabeth Moseng’s engaging illustrations perfectly capture the frenetic energy of soccer. And the book has an added twist: All of the players are animals. … ‘Soccer Beat’s illustrations are as lively as the text, and include a shot of a sprinting ostrich and a wild boar so intent on guarding his team’s goal, he looks as though he’ll catch players on his horns and toss them into next week. ‘Soccer Beat’ will delight young readers, regardless of whether they are fans of the title sport.”

Artwork copyright (c) 2003 by Elisabeth Moseng with permission by Margaret K. McElderry Books




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