This is the diary of Marcus Atkinson, who ends up at soccer training because his dad wants him to be a team player. But Marcus likes maths, not sports, and the only thing he likes to play is his Nintendo DS.
Marcus fails to convince his overly enthusiastic and effervescent dad to let him quit soccer. He tries some interesting tricks to get out of soccer, but Dad is one step ahead of him, and none of it works, although all of his antics, accompanied by Heinrich’s funny diagrams are exasperatingly hilarious. To make things worse, he scores a self goal with his bottom in his very first match.
Marcus’s dad is full of positive energy, encouragement, strategies and advice. Being extremely goal oriented and having written a book about goals and winning, he compels Marcus to start a diary to jot down his goals. But when he doesn’t end up winning the lotto or shaking off the school bully, he just uses it as a journal.
His dad lives in a halo of positive affirmations, and might be unaware of the struggle Marcus is going through. The father son relationship is a reminder of children trying to steer through the plans of well-meaning parents.
The diary concept works well in this book as Marcus reminisces about his past failings with sports from the age of three onward, all enhanced by funny line drawings. And, his musings about his current life are presented to hilarious effect, giving us a good idea of his school, soccer and home life.
Turns out, Marcus is actually a whiz at maths. He makes some interesting mathematical comparisons about his life. Finally, his love and understanding of maths, saves the day, with a little help from his soccer team-mate Lizzy!
The text is in bold type and spread out with lots of white space, making it easy to read. The line drawings are engaging, complete with arrows, labels and speech bubbles.
This book is perfect for the 6 to 7 age group. If you have a reluctant reader, this is a good book to offer them, especially if they like soccer. Also a perfect for the newly independent reader, who has just moved onto chapter books.
Suggested age: Read aloud to 5+. Read by self 7+. Recommended for a confident reader.
Published by Allen & Unwin, 2010