From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2 In this picture-book autobiography, readers see a young Pelé playing soccer alongside a boy who has the same love and enthusiasm for the sport. Morrison's illustrations are filled with dynamic action shots, showing the boys' legs stretching to incredible angles in order to execute a perfect shot. Readers witness dramatic scenes such as one painted with a soccer ball sailing high in the air against the backdrop of a vast blue sky, as Pelé, now appearing as a teenager, and the young boy look on. A spread near the end shows an adult Pelé autographing the child's soccer ball. The pinnacle of the short text is represented with a vibrant spread showing a ball reaching the net GOOAALL! The book is more general in nature than Lesa Cline-Ransome's Young Pelé: Soccer's First Star
(Random, 2007). Only the back notes provide some detailed facts about the athlete's life, his family, and the origins of his nickname leading up to his big break on a professional team and the World Cup. Nonetheless, new soccer fans will welcome this addition. Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
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“You know what’s better than scoring in a big game? Nothing!” In his first book for children, Pelé offers a pithy recap of his illustrious career in terms that are general enough to give artist Morrison latitude to tell two stories at once. Facing pages simultaneously track the renowned Brazilian from childhood to superstardom while following an androgynous young soccer enthusiast through practice sessions and games on an urban pitch. Both figures explode with infectious, winning enthusiasm and are usually posed in midair, arms and legs flung wide to propel a ball past opponents and into the goal. Both also look entirely delighted to be doing what they’re doing. A more detailed version of Pelé’s accomplishments caps this exuberant double introduction to the world’s most popular sport and to one of its most enduringly popular figures. Grades 1-3. --John Peters