The Wild Soccer Bunch is an international best-selling series that has made its debut in North America. The series originated in Germany and has more than nine million copies of the books in print in 29 countries, and has finally been translated into English. The books follow a soccer team and each one is told from the point of view of one of the players. Landon Donovan, who plays for the L.A. Galaxy and comes from a family of teachers, has joined the ranks of men trying to get boys to read more.
The first book, Kevin The Star Striker, finds the Bunch free of school for Spring Break and excited to play some soccer. They find their field has been taken over by Mickey the Bulldozer and his group of bullies, The Unbeatables. The Bunch recruit a former semi-pro soccer player to be their coach and fight to win back their field.
There are some good points about this book. It promotes teamwork, sportsmanship, socio-economic diversity and other good values. It motivates kids to get involved in team sports. The story moves quickly and keeps the reader coming back for more. And it’s got some cute illustrations.
But like most middle-grade books recently, it has the usual insults (moron, loser and jerk are used often). The boys almost all ignore the fact that they’re punished, stealing back a ball that’s been locked away or sneaking out a bathroom window, and the parents accept this without any repercussions. There are also a few references to parents who drink excessively and a mother who entertains men, and I mean that the way you think I mean it. Of course these went right over my 7 year old’s head but a more inquisitive child may want to know exactly what some of these scenes mean.
The book is rated for ages 8-14, and I would recommend it to the more mature middle graders in this range. It’s a good book for discussing some of the harder issues, like why it’s not good to skip out on punishment and the right way to treat your friends. My son and I had several talks about why you shouldn’t insult your friends.
One winner (U.S. only) will receive a copy of The Wild Soccer Bunch: Kevin the Star Striker. Please leave a comment if you’d like to win. We’ll announce the winner on September 13.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for review purposes.