What is it about Sergio books that move me to make confessions? In my review of the stellar Sergio Makes a Splash last year, I admitted to being a nose-plug swimmer. This time around, in considering Sergio Saves the Game!, I am feeling it necessary to admit my bias toward the sport featured in the story: soccer. I love soccer. I played from my youth through college. Great sport. Any chilren’s book showcasing the beautiful game is bound to get a bit more attention from your humble reviewer. This measured excitement often leads to disappointment. Not this time. While it doesn’t quite match the highs of its predecessor in terms of tension and resolution, Sergio Saves the Game! comes pretty close.
Sergio dreams of being a soccer star. In real life, the penguin is not as athletic as he would like. With the biggest game of the year approaching (against the imposing Seagulls), Sergio continues to improve as goaltender. When the game comes down to the final penalty shot, Sergio uses all his talents to save the win for his team. It may not be the way he planned it, but Sergio (and the reader) will be pleased with the unexpected resolution.
The woodblock print and digital media illustrations have a vibrantly retro feel, which makes sense given the old/new techniques Rodriguez used to create them. As in the first Sergio installment, the color palate is limited, employing orange and teal. This time out, a touch of red also joins the mix. The bright illustrations will stand out nicely during read-aloud time.
Wonderful artwork, humor, and a storyline that will hold readers right up to the end – Sergio Saves the Game! is a title that deserves to be in your picture book collection.
Watch an interview with author/illustrator Edel Rodriguez:
Also reviewed by Thing 1 and Thing 2.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.