Tim Cahill (text) and Heath McKenzie (illustrator), Tiny Timmy: The Next Level! (#9), Scholastic Australia, April 2019, 125 pp,. $12.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781760666118
Tiny Timmy: The Next Level! is book nine from the series of soccer books written by former Australian professional soccer player Tim Cahill. In this book, Tiny Timmy tries out for the state team—The Blues. When he makes the team, he is nervous and wants to be like the other players he admires in the team. But, as the coach tells him, “wanting to fit in can lead to making choices that aren’t always best for your game.” Tiny Timmy has to learn how to make choices that are right for himself, and finds that being himself makes him happier and more confident on the soccer field.
The Tiny Timmy series is a great way to get sport-loving children into reading. Written in first person, the tone is conversational and the language fairly simple, with some technical soccer terms and detailed descriptions of play included. Effort has been made to make the text visually appealing, with frequent use of bold and illustrated words and phrases, and plenty of white space between each line. Cartoon-style illustrations are also included on each page.
Having not read the earlier books in the series, I was pleasantly surprised when the story moved away from making the state soccer team, to Tiny Timmy dealing with social and emotional dilemmas. The only criticism of this book is that the illustrations depict one of the bully-type characters as large and overweight compared to all the other characters. It is a shame to see this out-dated stereotype in a current series.
A great book for sport-loving readers, possibly would be read more by boys as girls are only briefly mentioned. Would be great to see a similar series which focusses on a girls’ team.
Reviewed by Rebecca Blakeney