*Starred Review* With handsome oil paintings and a stirring story, this picture-book biography will first grab children with its action. Just as exciting, though, is the account of Brazilian-born Pelé's personal strugglehis amazing rise from poverty to international soccer stardom. The focus is on Pelé's childhood in Bauru, Brazil, in the 1940s and early 1950s. The pictures show him in his multiracial community, especially on the soccer field. He is punished for not paying attention in class; then he gives up school altogether to play soccer. His team, the Shoeless Ones, play barefoot; the ball is a sock stuffed with rags. The kids shine shoes and sell peanuts, until they earn enough for uniforms and second-hand shoes. Inspired by his dad, Pelé plays hard and is chosen as the team captain, and in a triumphant climax, he scores the winning goal in a big youth tournament. An afterword fills in the facts about how Edson (Pelé was a nickname) went on to become the greatest soccer player ever known.The small painting of the team's battered second-hand shoes is a moving testament to its struggle, particularly in contrast to the final triumphant pages when Pelé kicks the ball straight into the goal. Rochman, Hazel
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Starred Review, Booklist, September 1, 2007:
"With handsome oil paintings and a stirring story, this picture-book biography will first grab children with its action."