Monday, March 03, 2008

NonFiction Monday: Young Pelé


Young Pelé: soccer's first star by Lesa Cline-Ransome, paintings by James E. Ransome; Schwartz & Wade Books, 2007

James Ransome's illustrations shine in this picture book biography of Edson do Nascimento, who would be known to the world as Pelé. Using the greens, yellows and blues of the Brazilian flag Ransome paints glowing scenes of Edson's school, family and soccer life.

Edson struggled in school and his first soccer ball was "a sock stuffed with rags, rolled up and tied with string." His inability to focus in class resulted in reprimands and punishments but soccer was always foremost in his mind. His team, the Shoeless Ones, became a force in the city's soccer leagues. His nickname, Pelé, was bestowed at this young age.

The author describes the work ethic of the team; they sold peanuts and shined shoes to earn money for uniforms. The reader is reminded that talent also requires practice, drills, coaching and teamwork to suceed.

There is much here for the young soccer enthusiast to enjoy. Pelé traps, heads, dribbles and boots the ball across the pages. The creators of this biography score, indeed.

1 comment:

Tricia said...

I'm so glad you reviewed this. It was on the Cybils list for picture book nonfiction, but not one member of the nominating panel ever got to see it. It's a shame really. It sounds like this biography was nicely done.