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The Picture Book Buzz

The Field - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

I've been excitedly waiting for the launch of this book. I fell in love with the cover when it was first announced. The bright colors, energy, and enthusiasm are only a small taste of what the book has to offer.

Even if you don't play soccer, this book will have you itching to get outdoors and play.

The Field

Author: Baptiste Paul

Illustrator: Jacqueline Alcántara

Publisher: Northsouth Books (2018)




Soccer, teamwork, friendship, diversity, Creole (or Kweyol) and the Caribbean (St Lucia).

Synopsis (from back):

“A soccer story—for boy and girls alike—just in time for the World Cup!

“Vini! Come! The field calls!” cries a girl as she and her younger brother rouse their community—family, friends, and the local fruit vendor—for a pickup soccer (futbol) game. Boys and girls, young and old, players and spectators come running—bearing balls, shoes, goals, and a love of the sport.

“Friends versus friends” teams are formed, the field is cleared of cows, and the game begins! But will a tropical rainstorm threaten their plans?

The world’s most popular and inclusive sport has found its spirited, poetic, and authentic voice in Baptiste Paul’s debut picture book—highlighting the joys of the game along with its universal themes: teamwork, leadership, diversity, and acceptance. Creole words (as spoken in St. Lucia, the author’s birthplace island in the Caribbean) add spice to the story and are a strong reminder of the sport’s world fame. Bright and brilliant illustrations by debut children’s book illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara—winner of the We Need Diverse Books Illustration Mentorship Award—capture the grit and glory of the game and the beauty of the island setting where this particular field was inspired.

Soccer fan or not, the call of The Field is irresistible.”

Opening Lines:

Vini! Come!

The field calls.

Bol. Ball

Soulye. Shoes.

Goal. Goal.


Why I like this book:

I couldn’t wait to read this book. The cover was so vibrant and interesting – I was dying to know how the cows fit into an enthusiastic soccer game!

In a wonderful ode to the joy of spending time together outdoors, Baptiste Paul shares the thrills and struggles of playing soccer (futbol) as a child on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.

A brother and sister duo gather friends, a ball, neighbors, and adults. They overcome cows and goats in the field, a sudden rainstorm, and a sloppy, slippery field. But through it all, the love of the game, cooperation, and friendship shines through in the lyrical, sparse text and the determined, happy, caring faces. As the sun sets, the mothers call the children home, Vini abwezan! Reluctantly they head to homes, baths, and beds to dream about futbol and friends.

The interspersing of Creole words, and the Creole glossary in the back, adds another layer to the diversity and cultural context of the story. Jaqueline’s bright, bold colors capture the beauty and diversity of St Lucia, as well as the intensity and speed of the game. In the end, Jacqueline even gives the cows a piece of the ball. This is a wonderful debut picture book for both the author and the illustrator. It is sure to be one that will be begged for over and over again, whether soccer fan or not.


- check out Baptiste Paul's activity sheet of creole words;

- start a soccer game with friends in the park; and

- learn some more creole words

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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