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Author: Erin Mirabella

Illustrator: Sarah Davis

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Publisher: Velo Press, 2008

Material: hard cover

Summary: Paul the Peacock is a soccer star. Shawn Sheep is one of Paul's adoring fans. Shawn is already the best player on his team, so he knows he can be a star, too. At the big game, Shawn acts just like Paul, boasting about his goal and back-talking the referee. When coach sits him out for the next game, Shawn is angry. On the way home, he finally gets to meet Paul the Peacock in person. Was Paul really a star? Kids can learn about boasting and hero worship as subthemes in this book about sportsmanship.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 5 to 10

Age of Child: Started reading with 6-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our child asked to read this book, and we were surprised when she wanted to read it again, right away. She isn't into sports. We could tell by her level of attention that she was trying to put all the pieces together. She asked for this every couple nights for about 2 weeks.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a story where you definitely want to animate your voice. It will add emphasis to the message, which is well illustrated in the drawings, too. The author makes it easy for kids to understand that there are consequences for their actions, and that saying "I'm sorry," doesn't mean that the punishment goes away.

Pros: Exceptional dialogue and expressive illustrations teach kids lessons about sportsmanship, teamwork, friendship, and hero worship.

Cons: None, really. In addition to having the fact sheet about soccer, it would be nice to see a similar guide about sportsmanship and teamwork, or add a couple of discussion questions.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. Especially if you the kids in your house play sports. The story offers some great tips and reminders about how to be a good sport.

If You Liked This Book, Try: SUE BIRD: BE YOURSELF   RALLY CAPS  

Educational Themes: The story naturally lends itself to talking about the etiquette of playing sports, being a good teammate, friendship, bullying, and accountability. Kids will be eager to talk about all the bad choices in the story, and that opens the door to asking them to offer alternative scenarios.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 2.9

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, sports, soccer, life lessons, teamwork

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2008

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