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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Kickers #1: The Ball Hogs Paperback – May 10, 2011

7 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Kickers Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5–In Ball Hogs, which centers on teamwork, fourth-grader Ben plays soccer with his nemesis, Mark, whose consistently arrogant remarks irritate everyone on the team. Eventually an argument between the two boys over a four-square game during recess brings realistic emotions to a head. Ben and Mark begin to examine their behavior, bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion. In the second book, Ben learns to concentrate on learning some new skills, yet to be patient with himself when he makes an inevitable mistake. Pen-and-ink illustrations augment the enjoyment of the short chapters. Each title concludes with soccer tips for novices. Readers who look for play-by-play action will relish these beginning chapter books.Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Like his friend and Bobcat teammate Erin, Ben has never played soccer before, but he enjoys the practices and learns fast. However, he doesn't enjoy playing with Mark, whose big mouth and inflated ego make him easy to dislike. Their animosity spills over onto the four-square court at recess before they begin to see the value of passing in soccer and (no coincidence) the Bobcats begin to score goals. A good sports story for younger readers, this beginning chapter book balances bits of information about playing the game with realistic scenes on the field, at home, and at school. An effective subplot portrays Ben's shifting emotions and ethical dilemma after a friend is excluded from their regular four-square group. Beginning with tiny portraits of the team roster, lively black-and-white drawings illustrate the story. The book concludes with advice on practicing and playing the game in “Ben's Top Tips for Soccer Players.” A promising start for the Kickers series. Grades 2-4. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Series: Kickers (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375850929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375850929
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rich Wallace is an award-winning author of many novels for kids and teenagers. Recent work includes the Kickers series of soccer novels for kids in grades 2-4; the middle-grade historical novel War and Watermelon, set in the summer of Woodstock; and Sports Camp, about an 11-year-old boy away at camp for the first time. Novels for teenagers including Wrestling Sturbridge, Playing Without the Ball, and Perpetual Check, among others. He is also the author of The Timbertoes feature in Highlights magazine. Visit his web site at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Darcy Wishard on August 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Nine-year-old Ben is brand-new to soccer, but he's a good athlete and knows he'll do well on the Bobcats, his team in the local Kickers soccer league. If he can only work around his obnoxious teammate Mark, the ball hog, Ben is sure he'll score his first goal. But Coach Patty, and Ben's own teammates, show him a little something about teamwork. And suddenly it dawns on him: he's a ball hog, too. Can he change his ways before the Bobcats lose their shot at the Kickers play-offs?

Award-winning sports novelist Rich Wallace introduces the Kickers soccer series, filled with lively black-and-white art and fast-paced, on-the-field action.

Review: The first book in a new series (there will be four books in all) by the author that are aimed at millions of elementary kids out there who love the sport of soccer.

As you may have guessed the story centers around a few kids on the coed team, the Bobcats (Ben and Mark) who tend to be ball hogs. When the team starts getting frustrated after a few losses they begin to realize that working together will give them a better chance of winning and along the way Ben learns a few lessons about teamwork and fair play.

The end of the book even has a few tips from Ben for new soccer players. A great selection for elementary soccer fans!
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Format: Paperback
In the first book of the brand new “Kickers” series, Rich Wallace introduces readers to Ben and the Bobcats.This is Ben’s first time on a real soccer team, but he just knows that he’s going to be the best player out there; he’s a four-square champ on the playground and he even owns his very own soccer ball.That changes when mean show-off Mark joins the team.Mark is really fast and athletic, but he hogs the ball and is not very good at passing it to his teammates.

To make matters even worse, the Bobcats only have three practices before their first big game, and Ben finds out the hard way that Mark isn’t the team’s only ball hog.Ben might be one too!At practice, their coach works with the Bobcats to help them become a better team and have more fun playing together.Will it be enough to earn the team their first win of the season?This book is a great introduction to teamwork and soccer skills, and the story ends with Ben’s Soccer Tips.Boys and girls who play soccer or other sports will especially like this series.

This review originally appeared on
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this for my 9 year old grandson. I read it myself because I wanted to see what it was like so he and I could discuss it after I give it to him. It is a really nice story about a 9 year old boy who goes out for a soccer team and how he learns about the sport, and especially how he learns the importance of playing together as a member of the team and the value of good sportsmanship. The book teaches excellent values for children and the story line is interesting. If I have a complaint, it would be that, when you think about it, it is really more a "story" at only 118 pages of fairly large print. The book itself is done on very cheap paper and, while the black and white sketched illustrations are nice, it is questionable to me that this small "book" should be valued at $5,99 when you consider that for $2 or $3 more, one can buy an actual novel that takes days to read, instead of, say, an hour or so. That said, I do think my grandson will like it. I just question the price.
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Format: Hardcover
Fans of Wallace's WINNING SEASON series and his Young Adult novels, like WRESTLING STURBRIDGE, ONE GOOD PUNCH and PERPETUAL CHECK, will be happy to know that he now has a series for younger kids. And Wallace certainly knows his audience-- whether YA or Chapter book readers, the author is a master at implementing compelling game action, always as a backdrop for something more. No one comes close to Wallace in the sports arena, and in the KICKERS soccer series, which is a league for boys and girls, Wallace captures the often humorous game situations of newbie soccer players and the mindset of an early middle grade athlete. It's nice to know kids can now grow up with Wallace's books, from early grades through to high school, then pass these on to their children.
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