Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Football's Revolt by Jan LeWitt and George Him (V & A Publishing)

As much as we might think that children's picture books are a new and shiny idea, amazing picture books that cast the template for books we know and love today are much older than you think.
Take "The Football's Revolt" by Jan LeWitt and George Him. LeWitt and Him were responsible for a great many children's books in the 1930s and 40s. Back when books were beginning to explore new formats to win over younger readers, the quite wordsome chapter books were often given small illustrative inserts to break up the walls of text.

It was quite unusual to find a book that featured full colour full page illustrations as well as pages of text, but LeWitt and Him made the format their own.

"The Football's Revolt" is the story of an annual football match between the towns of Kickford and Goalbridge. Now, before you footie naysayers all run screaming into the trees, bear with because the story is a unique, original and entertaining one that requires no love of "The Beautiful Game"

As Kickford and Goalbridge square off on the massive sports field, with the population of both towns turning out en masse to watch the game, things get under way with a surprise interruption to the game.

No it's not a wayward streaker or a faked injury, or even a manager spitting his gum out onto the touchline but the football itself. It's fed up to the back teeth (do footballs have teeth?) with being kicked so hard, so the ball rockets up into the sky and stays there!

Everyone gets ready for the match but alas the firemen have to stay behind to make sure Kickford and Goalbridge are safe
No spare balls can be found, and though various substitutes are tried, nothing works.

Then the captain of the Goalbridge team remembers the ball he's given to his son to play with. The replacement is sent for but again, the ball objects to being kicked so hard and joins its friend in the sky too!

Trying to reach the mischievous balls - this looks dangerous!
Though everyone (including the hard working firemen and air force) tries to retrieve the balls, nothing quite works until the captain's son comes up with a genius plan to resume gameplay!

Find out what that plan is, and how the story ends in this wonderful revival of LeWitt and Him's 1940s classic.

It's really fantastic to see older books like this coming back into print (we've recently been singing the praises of various publishers who are digging into the back catalogues and reprinting some of these classics). Though the format might feel quite unfamiliar to modern audiences (a larger word count for example), the stories endure and it's great for people to be able to pick these up without paying extortionate collector prices for them.

Fab story, brilliantly entertaining!

Charlotte's favourite bit: When everyone gathers to stack things up to try and reach the naughty balls hanging in the sky (even taking the ticket booth to use as a base for a human pyramid!)

Daddy's favourite bit: An utterly fascinating book from an era where you'd expect children's books to be fairly boring and staid, this is an entertaining colourful spectacle that's sure to win over modern audiences, even those with no love of football.

(Kindly sent to us for review by V & A Publishing)

"The Football's Revolt"

Written by Jan LeWitt

Illustrated by George Him

Published by V & A Publishing

Release Date: 6th August 2015

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