Van Dijk Rules
Simon Mugford and Dan Green
These two highly illustrated biographies are the first in a series of Football Superstarsand both author Simon and illustrator Dan are soccer fans themselves, supporting Ipswich Town.
Marcus Rashford has recently hit the headlines again with his superb campaigning for free school meals over the half-term holidays which received tremendous community support and certainly put the government to shame. The opening pages of the book acknowledge his national hero status both as an awesome goal scorer and as a charity campaigner. Readers are then told what makes him the brilliant player that he is, and can also discover some statistical information.
Divided into short chapters, there’s information on his Manchester childhood, early achievements, his debuts including a comment by Rashford’s hero Ronaldo. Then come his path to national England player
and the final chapter focuses on his activist charity work during the Coronavirus lockdown. All this and he’s still only in his early 20s.
The book ends with a quiz and some key soccer words as does the companion book Van Dijk Rules.
This follows a similar pattern, giving facts about achievements, his early life in the city of Breda in the Netherlands as a child who always had a football at his feet, and how he progressed from over-grown, sometimes troubled teenager with a part-time job washing dishes in a local restaurant, through his successes with Celtic
and Liverpool, and as captain of the Dutch team. Both this and the previous title are enormously engaging for young soccer enthusiasts especially. Dan Green’s black and white illustrations capture the essence of the individuals and add additional detail and humour to Simon Mugford’s accessible writing.
Be Your Own Football Hero: Ronaldo
Matt and Tom Oldfield
The Oldfield brothers invite youngsters to don football boots and participate in a decision-making activity as they select one or other of the options presented at intervals throughout the book. There are many choices to be made in the world of a soccer professional such as Cristiano Ronaldo, some of which take the reader along the path taken by the real Ronaldo, others are would-be alternative realities – what might have beens.
Readers are taken back to Ronaldo’s childhood when as son of encouraging, soccer-enthusiast, hard-up parents. the football mad boy has his chance to go and play with his cousin at a Andorinha training session. It turns out to be something of a disappointment so what is your response when your dad asks if you enjoyed it? Time for that first decision …
And so it continues.
I’m not a football fan, but to readers from around six or seven, I can perfectly understand the allure of these books, written by the authors of the Ultimate Football Heroes biography series.