Review of The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field

The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field
by Scott Riley; illus. by Nguyen Quang and Kim Lien
Primary, Intermediate    Millbrook    40 pp.    g
3/21    978-1-5415-7915-6    $19.99
e-book ed.  978-1-7284-1900-8    $9.99

Young Prasit Hemmin and his friends loved soccer. But because their small island home of Koh Panyee, off the coast in Thailand, had so little land (the homes were built on stilts over the ocean), there was no room for even a small field. The boys played on sandbars at low tide, but as soon as the tide came in, the game was over. Set in 1986, this inspiring true story of determination and teamwork tells of Prasit and his friends’ wild plan to use scrap lumber to build a floating soccer field. Not only did the young people succeed, but practicing on this small, unsteady, nail-and-splinter-filled field floating off the docks helped build the players’ quickness and footwork. They entered a local tournament — and, playing their own way, came in third. In the ­colorful pen and digital illustrations, soccer scenes are especially lively and expressive, filled with happy smiles and strong kicks. An appended note tells more about the real-life players and about the Panyee Football Club, which is still in existence. A bibliography, further reading, “Words You Might Hear on the Floating Field” in English and Thai (with a pronunciation guide), and a first-person “Prasit’s Perspective” section are appended. A splendid nonfiction picture book to pair with Baptiste Paul’s fictional The Field (rev. 5/18).

From the May/June 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Eric Carpenter
Eric Carpenter
Eric Carpenter is the school librarian at Fred A. Toomer Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia.

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