Friday 24 February 2012

Children's Book review : Alfie Jones and a Change of Fortune - David Fuller

Alfie Jones and a Change of Fortune is the first in a series of books featuring - you've guessed it ! - Alfie Jones, a football mad, young boy who plays for the Kingsway Colts Under-9's team. Well, in theory anyway because these days, it's more of a distant dream, since the team's beloved elderly coach fell ill and was replaced by the vindictive Keith Johnson. Along with his bullying son Jasper, who was immediately named captain of the team, Keith seems to really have it in for young Alfie so he spends all his time sitting on the bench as a substitute.

Feeling rightfully hard-done-by, Alfie is devastated and - while he doesn't want to give in to the bullies - his dad has given him an ultimatum. He must get back in the main team and, above all, cheer up and start enjoying his football time again, or he'll have to leave the club and find a new team to play for. But when the mysterious fortune-teller Madame Zola starts popping up in strange places and telling Alfie that he must stay with the club for his dream of becoming a professional footballer to come true, Alfie decides that he has to stick with it and make things work.

It's a book that deals with many emotions that young children will be familiar with - bullying, a sense of injustice, feeling that their parents prefer their sibling, being pushed out, ... - and also some great values for them to think about, such as fair play, perseverance and never giving up on their dreams.

All the references to football will also make it incredibly appealing to young boys, who are notoriously reluctant readers, but they're not at all off-putting to non-football fans, which is proved by the fact that 10-year-old Sophie, who is not at all interested in the game, enjoyed it. The author, David Fuller, knows his stuff too, as he is an FA-qualified football coach and currently coaches a youth football team in Brighton. Hopefully, he's more like the kindly old coach Jimmy than the mean Keith Johnson !

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £5

  • Paperback: 163 pages
  • Publisher: RDF Publishing (25 Nov 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0957033907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957033900

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