Sunday, July 10, 2011


Javaherbin, M. (2010). Goal!. Massachusettes. Candlewick Press.
This book is a 2011 Texas Bluebonnet nominee.

Exposition: The book begins with a young boy in a village in South Africa summoning his friends for a game of soccer in the dusty street.  He has won a real soccer ball for being the best reader in school, so the boys are excited to kick the old plastic ball away.
Conflict: The boys know that the streets aren't always safe and so one team must sacrifice a player to act as a lookout. 
Rising Action: As the boys play, they forget to be concerned with their safety.  They run and play and for a few minutes, they are like any other child playing a game of soccer with friends.
Climax: The lookout, Badu, becomes so involved in watching the game and acting as a referee of sorts, that he forgets his duties of the lookout.  At this time, a group of older, bullies come up to them.  The young boys are afraid they will take their brand new federation size soccer ball away. They attempt to nonchalantly kick the new ball away. 
Falling Action:  The boys playing soccer are able to hide their ball under a bucket they are using for a goal, and the bullies discover their old plastic ball.  One of the bullies puts their plastic ball on the bucket that is hiding the real soccer ball.  All of the young soccer players hold their breath with fear that the ball will be discovered.
Resolution: Thinking the plastic ball is the ball they were playing with, the bullies take their ball and taunt them as they ride off on their bikes.  The boys then go back to their joyous game of soccer.

Goal! is illustrated by A.G. Ford.  The illustrations set the mood of the book, with the characters faces showing their feelings, whether it is pure happiness at being able to play soccer or fear of what the bullies might do.  Also, the illustrator's use of color, from the beautiful blue sky to the browns and rusts in the illustrations of the war torn village, does a wonderful job of establishing the setting of the book.  The art almost has a 3-D feel to it.

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