Monday, April 13, 2015

Billie B. Brown: The Soccer Star by Sally Rippin -- NOT RECOMMENDED

Rippin, Sally Billie B. Brown: The Soccer Star, illustrated by Aki Fukuoka. Kane Miller (EDC Publishing), 2010. $4.99. Content: G.

In this early chapter book, Billie B. Brown takes offense when she's told that girls can't play soccer. Things get even worse when her best friend Jack happily goes off to join the game without her. How can Billie show everyone that she's just as good at soccer as any boy, especially since she doesn't even know how to play?

I love the message that girls shouldn't be barred from sports just because they aren't boys. Unfortunately, Billie spends much of the book pouting instead of fixing the problem. When she finally does get angry enough to do something it's not because of the sexism she repeatedly encounters, but because she's jealous that her best friend left her alone while he went off to play. While jealousy is a perfectly natural emotion, it feels petty in this instance when there are clearly stronger issues to address. Also, having Jack -- a boy -- show her how to play is not nearly as strong as if Billie had taught herself, perhaps by watching soccer videos and practicing on her own or having a female cousin (for instance) teach her.

K-3 -- NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewer: Caryn

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