Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Small Readers: Kick it, Mo! by David A. Adler, illustrated by Sam Ricks

I can't explain why, but for some reason I was absolutely sure when I saw this latest book in this easy reader series that the illustrator had changed. I have no idea why. Weird.

Anyways, Mo, the dark-skinned sports enthusiast of the previous books, has returned. He has a big soccer game coming up and is determined to practice his kicks. His parents aren't quite so thrilled, especially when he practices inside, but they take him outdoors to work on his technique. Mo needs a lot of work; he's got enthusiasm and determination, but not much else.

Out on the field, he's the smallest of his team, which includes a range of skin tones and genders, as well as one girl in a head scarf. They're up against a bigger, but equally diverse team. Their coach, a black woman, reminds them how to kick and the game begins. Mo is soon tired out from chasing the ball, but when he finally gets a chance to kick it, will he mess up again?

The simple illustrations show a diverse, both in visible race and size, group of kids facing off against an equally diverse but generally bigger team. The backgrounds are mostly simple grass green and blue sky, keeping the emphasis on the words. Text is shown primarily on light blue sky or white background. The text is simple and repetitive, listed as a level I.

Verdict: There are no other easy readers (that I can think of at the moment) that feature real kids playing sports, so this is a must-have for your library section. It will be interesting to see if Mo continues his way through less well-known sports (hockey? lacrosse?) now that he's done the big four.

ISBN: 9780425289815; Published 2018 by Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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