Monday, 30 June 2014

Review: Charlie Merrick's Misfits in Friends, Fouls, and Football by Dave Cousins

Publisher: OUP
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: May 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

Amazon summary:

Charlie loves football. He watches it, memorizes facts about it, and he's even the captain of the local youth team, North Star Galaxy. When Charlie discovers that youth teams are being selected to play in exhibition matches at the World Cup tournament later that year he decides to enter North Star. There's one problem. He's got to prove that North Star deserve a place at the tournament and that's not easy when your team are kind of rubbish at football! This book takes the form of Charlie's competition entry for his team to play a warm-up match at the World Cup - it's crammed with hilarious doodles, true facts, and match reports, and is totally accessible for boys, girls, reluctant readers, and footie-mad kids everywhere!


Charlie Merrick's Misfits in Fouls, Friends, and Football is a great book for 9+ readers. It's all about a boy called Charlie Merrick, his team of misfits and how they achieve their dream of football fame. Even I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm only a very casual football fan (I watch Man United from time to time), so well done Dave Cousins!

Charlie Merrick and his friends play for North Galaxy. They're not the best, facing relegation and never winning a match. All that changes when Jack arrives on the scene and says he'll join their team if Charlie sets him up with his sister, Emily. Charlie's only too happy to oblige, though Emily isn't too keen on the idea. What follows is a hilarious attempt at matchmaking, as Charlie goes to extreme measures to get Jack and his sister together, resulting in Jack playing for North Galaxy and them actually winning some matches!

Fouls, Friends, and Football is really all about friendship and working as a team, as well as the sport itself. Charlie makes mistakes and bad decisions, but in the end it always comes back to friends and doing what's right. Fame and success can easily go to your head for a while, but friends will be there long after that has all died down. I think it's a great lesson to learn and one that will no doubt stay in the minds of younger readers.

This book features lots of cool stuff inside, like illustrations, comic strips, trading cards and match reports. It's an interactive read with a lot going on, perfect for its target audience. No-one reading it will ever be bored, and I'm sure the format will appeal to boys in particular. Not saying girls won't enjoy it too, because they absolutely will. There's something here for everyone!

I never expected to enjoy Fouls, Friends, and Football as much as I did, but I was won over by Dave Cousins and his band of misfits. I'm already looking forward to the next book, titled I'm a Nobody, Get Me Out of Here and, in the meantime, I might even watch some of this summer's World Cup. How's that for scoring a goal, eh, Dave? You'll make a football fan of me yet!

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