The Champion Charlies: The Mix Up by Adrian Beck
Illustrated by Adele K. Thomas
Published by Penguin Random House
Date: 28 May 2018
Whether you call it soccer or football, if you’re a fan of the sport you will love this new series that has been developed in partnership with the Football Federation Australia. The Mix Up, the first in The Champion Charlies series is a celebration of Australian Soccer, friendship, teamwork, valuing the skills and abilities of others, and sportsmanship. Written for Junior readers, this book will have your reader laughing along as they follow Charles (CJ) and Charlotte on their soccer adventures, dancing dads, and teammates who love to pull pranks.
From the first couple of pages we get a real sense of who CJ and Charlotte are, CJ is messy and mischievous, but Charlotte does everything to a schedule and acts responsible. Both are the best players on their football teams and very sure of their abilities, but when they receive the shocking news that the girls and boys team will be merging together their personalities clash. All they can think about is who is the best and who should be captain and this is when the fun, games, stubbornness and odd prank or two begin.
There are other endearing characters that we meet throughout the story including, Lexi who is always camera ready, Benji who was once the mascot but is now the very talented newbie on the field, the hilarious dancing dads, and Lenny the old player turned rival.
This book reads with ease and I just kept turning the pages and couldn’t put it down. The book could easily be read from 5 years (with assistance) and over, with the feeling overall that the content in this book is largely positive and encouraging to a wide age range of readers. The illustrations are a lovely addition to the book and help break up the pages for the younger reader, plus it is good for a giggle to see a picture of Mr Highpants singing Karaoke.
One effective aspect of the book is the facts pages that have been incorporated throughout, facts checked and double checked by Charlotte Alessi of course. These range from information about the Mighty Westfield Matilda’s, new teams and fun facts about football. The way Adrian Beck has incorporated these sections into the book are smart and add a little bit of real life for avid fans and children new to the sport.
I am really pleased to have had the opportunity to read this book. Seeing an Author, Illustrator and Football Federation come together to celebrate and share about a much loved sport across the world, not only makes for some fun reading but encourages children to get out there and have a go no matter what you may feel your ability is like.
Thank you Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.