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Sam loves to play games—but he doesn’t like to lose. So when his soccer team is playing against a team of bigger kids, Sam decides not to play. But if he doesn’t even play, how can he ever win?
Given the popularity of children’s sports, especially soccer, this is a timely topic. It’s handled here with the gentle humor, fresh feel, and relatable characters that this author/illustrator team has become known for, and the adorable art and bright colors are right on target for the very young audience.
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Thierry Robberecht and Philippe Goossens have created 15 books together, including three other books about Sam, and their work has been published in 13 countries. They both live in Brussels.From School Library Journal:
PreSchool-Grade 1—This latest offering about the little wolf focuses on good sportsmanship. Sam loves to play games, but only if he wins. When his friend Ray wins too often, Sam sulks and refuses to talk to him, and when their soccer team is scheduled to play "the big kids," Sam decides to skip the game because he's afraid they'll lose. Instead, he visits his grandma, who reminds him how much he loves soccer. In the end, she drives him to the game, which results in a tie, and he realizes that he loves to play games, even if he doesn't win every time. The story's obvious message is hammered home, and the unrealistically tied game undercuts its effectiveness. Despite Sam's authentically childlike voice, the translated text is somewhat choppy. Nevertheless, the young wolf is a believable character dealing with issues many children face. The full-bleed, color-saturated oil illustrations reflect his moods, and the characters are appealingly drawn with dots for eyes and lines for mouths. Libraries where the earlier books are popular, or those looking for more titles on good sportsmanship, may want to add this one, but most can pass.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
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Book Description Clarion Books, 2008. Condition: New. Philippe Goossens (illustrator). book. Seller Inventory # M0618992103
Book Description Clarion Books, 2008. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0618992103