Reviews /

Planet Football

Authored by Michelle Robinson
Illustrated by Chris Mould
Published by Walker Books


Jackson, like lots of young boys across the country, is obsessed with football. He plays it, watches it, eats it and sleeps it! Jackson knows everything about football that there is to know, and his constant practising leads him to develop a new skill – the ability to kick the ball ridiculously high into the air! His new-found talent leads to fame as he tours the planet, kicking balls as far as they will go…until there are no footballs left. What will Jackson do? No footballs means no football, for anyone.

I was initially a little concerned that the main character was a boy, which would lead to stereotypes within the sport, but thankfully, when Jackson is approached by a World Cup star bemoaning the potential loss of the tournament, it is the female team who are there. In fact, there is good representation throughout the book of different ethnicities, body shapes and sizes, and people with and without physical disabilities.

Sure enough, there is a happy ending to this rhyming story, which has a sense of fun, and was well-received by my 5-year-old, who wanted to read it again and again.

Moreover, it made this football fan – a fan who acknowledges footballers are not always the best role models – a happy person because the story brings football back to what it should be: a game to be enjoyed by all.