________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 16 . . . . April 3, 2009

Jazlyn J’s Birthday Celebration Cover Soccer Legends. (Crabtree Contact).

Clive Gifford.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3799-5 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-3777-3 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Soccer players-Juvenile literature.
Soccer-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Bruce Dyck.

**½ /4

Jazlyn J’s Ideal Instrument Cover Soccer World Cup. (Crabtree Contact).

Clive Gifford.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3800-8 (pbk.),
ISBN 978-0-7787-3778-0 (RLB).

Subject Heading:
World Cup (Soccer)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Bruce Dyck.

**½ /4


In 1967, two armies which were at war in Nigeria, stopped fighting for 48 hours. Why? To watch Peléé take part in a friendly match! (From Soccer Legends)

Both Soccer Legends and Soccer World Cup follow what seems to be the standard format for this series with 13 two-page chapters, a vocabulary list called “Need-To-Know Words,” a brief half-page bit of extra information, four web links, and a two page index at the end.

     Starting with Soccer Legends, after the introductory chapter, chapter two focuses on four historical legends, devoting a paragraph to each. Next are two chapters focussing on Real Madrid and Manchester United, the two legendary clubs covered in the book. Soccer Legends then moves on to its coverage of individual legends, devoting the next eight chapters to one player each, with the exception of the chapter on female soccer legends which looks at two of women’s soccer’s greats. The players covered are: Peléé, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Gianluigi Buffon, Bobby Moore, Zinedine Zidane, Paolo Maldini, and female legends Marta Vieira de Silva and Birgit Prinz, and finally David Beckham. The half-page bit of extra information give three little stories about three of the legends previously covered that underline their popularity.

     Soccer World Cup moves from its introduction to a look at the FIFA World Cup Trophy, the hosting of a World Cup, and attendance at the last five World Cups. Soccer World Cup then shifts its attention to the mechanics of the FIFA World Cup. Qualifying for the World Cup, the World Cup tournament structure, and the no-draw rule in the elimination round each get a separate chapter. A chapter on the past winners of the World Cup is followed by a chapter focussing on Brazil’s past dominance of the tournament.

     Soccer World Cup takes a quick one chapter look at the Women’s World Cup before moving back to the men with a chapter on amazing World Cup stats, or as the book calls them, “World Cup Wonders.” Soccer World Cup concludes with two chapters devoted to the referees and a few of the more spectacular World Cup upsets respectively. After the “Need-To-Know Words,” the brief half-page of concluding information looks at some of the more interesting World Cup mascots.

     With the growing popularity of soccer in North America, it is not surprising this is a topic Crabtree decided to include in this series. Both books are fun to read, contain a lot of interesting information, seem to hang together quite well text-wise, have decent pictures, and will appeal to any number of reluctant readers. I was happy with the choices made on which players and clubs Soccer Legends chose to focus and thought the controversy around Zinedine Zidane’s last game was dealt with appropriately. Some of the pictures in Soccer World Cup come close to what one might expect to see hanging on the wall of a fan, and the facts and stats are interesting and fun. Both books, taken together, come close to covering the essential information, and do a good job of introducing the sport and its heroes.

     There are some issues, however. Firstly, the information presented on women’s soccer seems like an afterthought. It doesn’t get the attention it deserves, a problem I hope Crabtree plans to rectify in a book devoted solely to the topic.

     There are also a couple of little things that need mention: Soccer Legends identifies Peter Schmeichel as a goalie. In soccer, the terminology is goalkeeper or keeper As well, Soccer World Cup failed to provide comparative numbers for attendance, i.e. The World Cup is watched by over one billion people on TV compared to the 97.5 million people who tuned into the most watched Super Bowl.

     The last issue is more troubling, perhaps because it came as a bit of a surprise. Both Soccer World Cup and Soccer Legends either omit or ignore, or incorrectly state several key pieces of information. The first of these relates to what the sport is actually called by the rest of the world: football. Neither Soccer World Cup nor Soccer Legends reference this fact anywhere. This is especially troubling in Soccer World Cup as this omission leads FIFA to be defined as “the organization that runs world soccer competitions. FIFA was formed in 1904.” No explanation of what the acronym FIFA actually stands for is given. In addition, both books have incorrect definitions for yellow card and red card. Soccer Legends defines yellow card as: “A warning issued by the referee to a player who breaks the rules” and fails to define red card while Soccer World Cup defines yellow card as: “A card shown to a player as a warning” and red card as: “A card shown by a referee to send a player off the field.” The proper definition of a yellow card should state that it is shown to a player who has committed a foul, or for objectionable conduct. A red card is shown to a player who has received two yellow cards in the same game or who is guilty of extraordinarily objectionable conduct, and his behaviour requires the player to leave the game, and in the case of the World Cup, also forbids him taking part in the next game his team plays.

     This difficulty with the choices made for the Need-To-Know Words section has a couple of minor additions to the major ones above. I can not understand why Soccer World Cup includes Mascot and Stadium here. These are both words any sports fan could easily define, including my three-year-old son. Perhaps striker and elimination round would have been better choices.

     Over all, both books do a good job of covering their respective topics, and with the suggested additions and corrections noted, would rate as excellent. This is especially true in the case of Soccer World Cup, which, while containing the best images of the two, is pulled down the most by the presented Need-To-Know Words and their definitions. Eliminating these problems would bring Soccer World Cup’s rating from two and a half stars to three and a half easily.


Bruce Dyck, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is currently employed by his wife and two sons as a stay-at-home dad.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.