Cleat Queen! Kylie Jean, Soccer Queen by Marci Peschke
EVER SINCE I WAS A BITTY BABY I HAVE WANTED TO BE AN HONEST BEAUTY QUEEN. I EVEN KNOW THE WAVE.
Pretty girls in Texas have a tradition of trying out for that beauty queen tiara. But things are about to change!
WHEN I WAKE UP, IT'S A PERFECT SPRINGTIME SATURDAY MORNING.
THE BEST PART OF THIS SATURDAY MORNING IS THAT MOMMA HAS A SURPRISE FOR ME!
But guessing, begging, and snooping don't work. With her bulldog Ugly Brother and her "best cousin" Lucy along, Momma drives to the local college. The surprise is that they get to watch the collegiate lady Buccaneers play soccer. Suddenly Kylie Jean has a new aspiration--to play soccer just like the college girl who scored the last goal. And when she goes for her autograph, Belle Jenkins recruits Kylie for the team she is coaching and hands her a tryout sheet and soccer camp schedule. Kylie practices all weekend. She is a little sad that her best cousin finds the game boring and won't try out, but she does help Kylie work on dribbling, and Kylie makes the team.
"I KNEW YOU'D LOVE SOCCER!" MOMMA SAYS.
Kylie befriends a new girl in town, Ana Sofia, who has just moved to Texas from Florida, and the teammates choose a name, the Tiger Lilies. Instead of ruffly dresses, fancy coiffures, and tiaras, Kylie Jean's new fashion includes shorts, jerseys, long socks and cleated shoes.
And at the first game the next week, Kylie gets lucky and scores the winning goal. She just knows she's on her way to being a Soccer Queen. But in the second game, with the score tied, things take a bad turn.
I'M ABOUT TO SHOOT THE BALL, BUT JUST AS I PULL MY LEG BACK TO KICK IT, A PLAYER FROM THE OTHER TEAM STEALS THE BALL AWAY, SHE DRIBBLES THE LENGTH OF THE FIELD AND SHOOTS A POWERFUL SHOT PAST OUR GOALIE.
I FEEL AWFUL. I'LL NEVER BE A GREAT PLAYER LIKE COACH BELLE. TEARS STING MY EYES, BUT I'M NOT GOING TO CRY. SOCCER PLAYERS SHOULD BE TOUGH.
And it's good that Kylie learns that lesson, because in the soccer camp playoff game, she scores with a jump and a header that wins the game. But when Kylie comes down from her leap, she lands with a crunch on one arm. It's broken, and she's off to the emergency room.
"HOW AM I GOING TO BE A SOCCER QUEEN WITH A BROKEN ARM?"
But soccer queens have to be tough, and Kylie Jean comes through smiling as bravely as any beauty queen, complete with pink cast, which Ana Sofia leads the team in signing right away, in Marci Peschki's Soccer Queen (Kylie Jean) (Capstone/Picture Window Books, 2015). Author Peschki's supplies some gameplay excitement and her text is easy enough for accomplished Grade 1 readers but includes social situations that help all primary students become familiar with the game and team dynamics. Abundant illustrations break up and extend the text, and terms such as juggle and forward are defined in the text or in a handy appended glossary, which also offers activities, a recipe for Momma's best Texas-style cookies, and a web link with pass number that give access to other books and lots of activities on the Capstone Books website, making this one a good summer choice for kids.
Playing on a team teaches kids a lot--athletic skills, of course, but also offers good role models, and a chance for learning goal-setting, teamwork, courage, how to accept both winning and losing gracefully, and the support of a strong social group that carries over to school and family life, and Soccer Queen (Kylie Jean) scores on those goals.