From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3–By now most children know that “in the universe, on a planet, on a continent, in a country, in a city, on a block, in a house, lives a little girl named Madlenka.” They're familiar with the multiethnic, multicultural neighborhood that has provided her with many global experiences. In this latest episode, Madlenka wants to be a soccer star. In her search for a partner, she tries playing with the mailbox, a dog, a parking meter, a garbage can, and team of soccer-playing cats before her friend Cleopatra and all of the neighborhood kids join her game. Sís once again brings Madlenka's neighborhood to life in his familiar maplike depiction. He captures one little girl's excitement and spreads it throughout the neighborhood. Global enthusiasm becomes visual in the final pages where a brief soccer history and fun facts are written on the face of a large soccer ball. The circular shape is mirrored on the opposite page with a globe surrounded by conversation balloons speaking “soccer” in more than 40 languages. The obvious appeal of this book is for kids who play and love the sport; however, it will also prompt discussion about the commonalities of people: “The whole world wants to play soccer!”–Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OHα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In her third title, following Madlenka (2000) and Madlenka’s Dog (2002), urban adventurer Madlenka “dreams of being a soccer star.” Once again, Sís creates a captivating visual blend of reality and fantasy in images that illustrate Madlenka’s invented world, and here the pictures show the aspiring young athlete transforming everyday neighborhood objects into imagined teammates, from a mailbox to a produce scale. In her building’s courtyard, her best pal, Cleopatra, and a crowd of other kids join in a joyful game. An appended note, inventively formatted onto a soccer ball’s hexagons, offers facts about the game, while the closing message, “The whole world wants to play soccer!” extends this year’s international World Cup fever. Children who have already met Madlenka will recognize Sís’ use of creative, aerial perspectives, which are particularly effective here in emphasizing the sense that each child is at once part of a particular neighborhood and a member of the global family. Young female fans will also appreciate following a girl who kicks a ball through the pages. Preschool-Grade 2. --Gillian Engberg