November 2009, Walker Books Ltd
112 pages, Paperback
Children's, girl's, 7+
Yunaleska's recommended rating:
The spirited under 11's female team named The Parsnips, are back. This time they are off taking part in a version of the world cup. The story is told from Nika's point of view, a girl from the Ukraine who is relatively new to England. Her football skills have earned her a place in the Parsnips, a place where not all the young vegetables (couldn't resist that remark) are happy.
It's a little tough being disliked by someone when you're both on a trip together. At least Nika doesn't have to share a room with JJ. Sadly that doesn't confine the bad atmosphere between them. It ends up affecting all the girls, and even jeopardises their chances in the world cup event. Nika believes it's because the Parsnips ended up being named Ukraine instead of England. She understandably thinks JJ has an issue with her being 'foreign'. The misunderstanding is resolved at the end of the book, with a surprising reason behind JJ's attitude. The tale which makes JJ listen to Nika brought tears to my eyes.
I love how although these books are about football, a sport which I know little about, I enjoy reading the books. Yes, there are football terms, but the stories are about friendship - the ups and downs - amongst the Parsnips. It's very much about how characters interact, and demonstrates that lack of communication can lead to huge assumptions and misunderstandings. Hopefully the books will teach readers how to sort some problems out - talking to people always helps. Even if it's hard, it ends out working out fine in the end.
I would urge everyone, even those who don't like football (me included) to read this series. Plus the covers are pretty funky!
Helena Pielichaty has her website here.
Liked this? Try the first book in the series - Do Goalkeepers Wear Tiaras?