The Field, written by Baptiste Paul and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara, bursts with energy and neighborhood fun. The synopsis is straightforward: kids gather for a pick-up game of soccer. Although the premise seems simple, Paul and Alcántara pack in so much emotion and life so that it makes the reader feel they are a part of the game.
Here are three things I like about this book:
- Paul draws on his childhood experience of growing up in the Caribbean. Creole words seamlessly mix into dialogue and narrative, giving the reader a sense that they are part of the neighborhood pack.
- With so much color and action in her illustrations, Alcántara makes the reader feel like they are running, kicking, and getting dirty right alongside the others.
- People sometimes think that picture books showing a slice of life are easy to pull off, but the opposite is true – if you want them done well. And Paul and Alcántara have done it so well in this book, which is a testament to their craft. They get bonus points for creating a book that feels inclusive and will make kids want to start a pick-up game of their own.
The Field is a wonderful choice for a read-aloud, particularly for soccer lovers in the four to eight years old age bracket.