Inspired by Australia's own soccer legend, Johnny Warren, Jasper and Lil dream of being soccer champions! They love their team, the Rovers, but do they have what it takes to make it to the finals and win?
JASPER Zammit is a soccer legend, in his head anyway. There
are three main characters in this book; Jasper, Lil and Jasper’s
There are also three stories in this book; #1, The Game of Life, is about a new kid,
Lil, who joins the Rovers, Jasper’s soccer team. But Jasper’s dad has been coming
home late and tired. This is due to his new boss, which turns out to be Lil’s dad.
Jasper’s dad ends up quitting his job. Soon, Jasper and Lil devise a plan to get
Jasper’s dad working again and Lil’s dad is happy to have his best employee back.
#2, The Striker, is about a new boy, Aamir, joining the Rovers. He may be from
Afghanistan and not able to speak much English, but is a brilliant striker.
But a boy from the Eastville Kings, Badger, can’t resist teasing Jasper about Aamir
about how he doesn’t belong in Australia. Jasper gets so worked up about it that he
punches Badger and gets sent off the field red card.
Now Aamir’s dad thinks the game is too violent and pulls Aamir out of the Rovers.
The eventually get him back by letting Aamir have an interview, but only on one
condition, that Jasper’s Nannu has an interview as well.
Jaspers Nannu is a bit nervous about the interview but it’s enough to let Aamir’s
dad let him play again.
#3, The Finals, is about when The Rovers coach, Coach Wallace has to leave. His
replacement, Coach Riley only about winning. Now none of the Rovers are interested
in playing soccer and some have even quit.
Jasper has bigger problems. Who he was going to ask to the school dance!
He was going to ask Lil, but he took too long and Tricky had already asked. Now
Jasper had to find another girl. How was he going to deal with coach as well? Lil’s
older brother comes in and they find evidence that Coach Riley can’t coach anymore.
Vince takes over and teaches themthat it’s not just about winning, but having fun.
The Rovers end up winning the finals but just after Jasper holds up the trophy, his
mum gets a call from the hospital saying that Jasper’s Nannu had had a stroke.
In the hospital, Lil says that she said no to Tricky and asked him to ask Josie to the
dance and then Lil asks Jasper to go to the dance with her.
Jasper Zammit is a great book. I would recommend it for boys and girls who enjoy
soccer or just for people over the age of 8.
Rating (5 Stars)
Jasper Zammit Soccer Legend
Deborah Abela and Johnny Warren
Random House, 2014
Pbk., 576pp., RRP $A19.95
With the FIFA World Cup just around the corner and Australia’s Socceroos featuring in many sports bulletins each day, comes this compendium of the Jasper Zammit, soccer legend trilogy. With a partnership between Deborah Abela who brings her fabulous storytelling skills and former Socceroo captain Johnny Warren who brings his in-depth knowledge of soccer, readers are treated to a series of stories about kids who love their soccer and their team the Rovers but each has obstacles to overcome and issues to deal with.
In The Game of Life Jasper Zammit is a soccer legend – in his own head. Whole stadiums cheer as he bends balls and scores magic goals. When Lil joins the Rovers Under-11s, Jasper finds someone as obsessed with soccer as he is. But Lil's dad is the reason Jasper's dad lost his job. Can they be friends? The focus of The Striker is Aamir who can't speak English, but who is a brilliant soccer player for the Rovers. The trouble is, Eastville Kings star player Badger can't resist badgering his opponent to put them off their game. Now his target is Aamir. Who will be sent off the field with a red card? The third book in the collection is The Finals. In this,the Rovers get a new coach just before the finals. But winning is all he cares about, and playing soccer isn't as fun anymore. Lil's big brother devises a plan to get the Rovers back on track. Can he save them? Time is running out and he's their only hope.
Interspersed throughout the chapters, are anecdotes and advice from Johnny Warren that will help the soccer reader improve their game. There is also a glossary at the end of the first book which not only explains soccer terms but also tips on how to perfect them.
Soccer fans, both boys and girls, will be wanting to read this as their dreams, like Jasper’s, about being an Australian soccer superstar are fuelled by the World Cup inspiring them to work just the little bit harder.