Bernard Beagle Kicks Off by Daniel Murphy

Bernard Beagle Kicks Off by Daniel Murphy
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (165 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Bernard Beagle dreams of playing soccer for his school team. There is just one problem – he is terrible at sports.

Cody Fisher, captain of the Bayview Primary Tidal Waves, is Bernard’s one-way ticket to the midfield.

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As Bernard pushes for qualification it becomes obvious – he’s going to need a lot more than Cody’s friendship to make the squad.

Do you have to be naturally athletic in order to be a good athlete?

The conflicts were handled nicely. Not only was there the perfect amount of it, each conflict was so different from the others that they played off of each other beautifully. This is something I’d be equally comfortable recommending to kids who love sports as I would to the ones who have no interest in that topic at all. There were so many other things going on in the storyline that I think this will appeal to all sorts of middle grade readers.

It would have been helpful to have more detailed descriptions of the characters and settings. I had a lot of trouble picturing what any of them looked like because of how few of these descriptions I had to work with. While I enjoyed the plot itself, I would have liked it even more if I could have formed mental images of these characters and the places where they spent their time.

The dialogue was well written. There wasn’t quite as much of it as I’d normally expect to see in a book of this length due to all of the time Bernard and his friends spent playing soccer, but that was a good thing. Of course they’d be too busy and possibly out of breath to talk during their practices and games! It only made sense, and I liked the fact that the author seemed to take this into account when he was writing those scenes. When characters did talk to each other, I enjoyed the fact that the voices of the adults and kids were so distinct. Just like in real life, the way a grown-up in this universe spoke generally wasn’t exactly the same as how the main character would say it.

Bernard Beagle Kicks Off should be read by sports fans of all ages.

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