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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer, written by Elizabeth Steinglass and illustrated by Edson Ike. Wordsong, Penguin Random House. 2019. $23.99 ages 5 and up

"Find me.
I'm under the bed.
Sure, I smell
like something dead,
but who cares?
Wear me.
Wear a pair of me.
Tuck me
in your sock,
and let's get out of here.
I want to be kicked.
It's why I exist." 

Kids love soccer. Any other year, the school playground across the street from my house would soon be teeming with little ones four days a week from 5:30 until 7:30. It won't be like that this year. I will miss it. Kids will miss it, and so will their parents.

Those kids who love to play soccer are sure to find any number of poems to enjoy as they pore over this book that deals with all aspects of the game. There are 22 from which to choose. It is a real celebration; each poem is written from the perspective of those children who have a passion for playing.

The table of contents invites attention to its many aspects, allowing readers a chance to choose what most interests them whether it is defence, passing, dribbling, teammates, goals, or the handshake as the game comes to a close. I wanted first to read the poems about an apology and its acceptance.


I got too mad.
I tried to hard.

I crossed the line.
I got a card.


I saw he was sorry.
I knew he felt bad.

I sat down beside him.
I didn't get mad."

Ms. Steinglass has knowledge of and a love for the sport. That is evidenced in the variety found in this collection. The poems are written from different perspectives, and in a wide variety of poetic form. A list that describes each of those forms is included in back matter. Edson Ike's digital artwork is boldly colorful, energetic, and embodies all of the action.

If you have a soccer player in the family, this is a perfect book to give prior to the new season, whenever that might be this year. It certainly is an excellent addition to classroom and school libraries, making it available to anyone wanting to better understand the game they want to play. Or, have the team sign it and gift it to the coach as the season comes to an end.

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