The Field

by Baptiste Paul (Author) Jacqueline Alcantara (Illustrator)

The Field
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2018

School Library Journal Best Book of 2018

The Horn Book Best Picture Book of 2018

Shelf Awareness Best Children's Book of the Year

Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year

A soccer story--for boy and girls alike--just in time for the World Cup!

"Vini! Come! The field calls!" cries a girl as she and her younger brother rouse their community--family, friends, and the local fruit vendor--for a pickup soccer (futbol) game. Boys and girls, young and old, players and spectators come running--bearing balls, shoes, goals, and a love of the sport.

"Friends versus friends" teams are formed, the field is cleared of cows, and the game begins! But will a tropical rainstorm threaten their plans?

The world's most popular and inclusive sport has found its spirited, poetic, and authentic voice in Baptiste Paul's debut picture book--highlighting the joys of the game along with its universal themes: teamwork, leadership, diversity, and acceptance. Creole words (as spoken in St. Lucia, the author's birthplace island in the Caribbean) add spice to the story and are a strong reminder of the sport's world fame. Bright and brilliant illustrations by debut children's book illustrator Jacqueline Alcántara--winner of the We Need Diverse Books Illustration Mentorship Award--capture the grit and glory of the game and the beauty of the island setting where this particular field was inspired.

Soccer fan or not, the call of The Field is irresistible.

Find books about:

School Library Journal

POPK-Gr 3--An open field in a lush Caribbean setting calls to a group of children. They chase away grazing animals, bring out the soccer ball and goals, and begin a spirited game of soccer. Rain and a muddy, slippery field cannot stop their game; only the repeated calls from the mamas and a setting sun can. Dirty but satisfied, the children return home for baths and bed, knowing that the field will call again for another rousing game. Illustrations in deep, saturated colors with energetic lines accompany a spare but rhythmic English text, sprinkled with Creole. The narrative and images evoke the islands and the joy of playing a game regardless of weather. In a concluding note, Paul recalls his native Saint Lucia where, he explains, Creole is spoken but is rarely written down. A brief glossary is included, though most of the words will be understandable in context and in the animated paintings. VERDICT This engaging book is sure to resonate with children who are passionate about soccer and even those who simply enjoy lively play.--Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

A boisterous and unfettered love of futbol is at the heart of this energetic picture book from debut talents Paul and Alcantara, set on an unspecified Caribbean island. Alcantara's kinetic illustrations reflect the joy and camaraderie that the game brings to the young players: two twins walk in lock-step to set up a goal made from bamboo shoots, the children are forced to clear the field of cows before the game can begin, and players slip and slide dramatically as a storm sets in. Paul's punchy, declarative text clearly communicates that the players won't be hindered by stubborn livestock, downpours, slippery mud, or beckoning mamas; they overcome each obstacle together, as a team. Paul moves casually between English and Creole; definitions are included, but the meanings are generally spelled out ("Ou byen? You okay? Mwen byen. I'm good"). The children's elongated, exaggerated movements create an almost constant sense of motion in Alcantara's vividly colored paintings, and their enthusiasm for futbol is infectious. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator's agent: Adriana Dominguez, Full Circle Literary. (Mar.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Baptiste Paul
Baptiste Paul is a children's picture book author. His first book for NorthSouth, The Field, received 3 starred reviews and won the Sonia Lynn Sadler Award, was a Junior Library Guild selection, and also appeared on the Horn BookFanfare Best of 2018, the School Library Journal Best of 2018, and the CCBC 2018 Choices lists. Kirkus Reviews calls his new book, Peace (2021), "A visually splendid primer on peace." Baptiste loves sports, likes to roast his own coffee, and grills. He lives in Wisconsin with his family.

Jacqueline Alcántara is a children's picture book illustrator. Her debut picture book, The Field, written by Baptiste Paul, received 3 starred reviews and won the Sonia Lynn Sadler Award, was a Junior Library Guild selection, and also appeared on the Horn Book Fanfare Best of 2018, the School Library Journal Best of 2018, and the CCBC 2018 Choices lists. Jacqueline's favorite days are spent drawing, painting, writing, and walking her dog. She lives in Chicago.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 20, 2018
Kirkus Reviews
Best Picture Book
School Library Journal
Best Book 2018

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!