Title: All to Play For
Author: Eve Ainsworth
Illustrator: Kirsti Beautyman
Publisher: Barringtom Stoke
Genre: Older children’s/middle grade fiction, Contemporary
Book format: Paperback
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Description: Lewis Cooper loves football more than anything else in the world, so he’s thrilled when his talent is spotted by a local coach.
But there are some serious obstacles in Lewis’s way.  His mum doesn’t want him to play because she blames the game for a family tragedy.
And even if Lewis can change her mind, there’s no way she’ll be able to afford the proper kit that he needs.
Can Lewis beat the odds to have a chance of following his dream?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is such a brilliant story!  Lewis loves to practice his football skills on a small patch of grass on the estate where he lives.  But he hides the fact he practices from his mum who would be upset if she ever found out that he loves to play.  Football is everything to Lewis and one day he is give a very special opportunity.  He really wants to take it, but his mum can’t afford all the right kit, and even if she could, she doesn’t want Lewis to have anything to do with football after his father died.

All to Play For book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

This is a great and compelling read which made me smile when I finished it.  Lewis’s mum isn’t keen on Lewis playing football, ever since his father died while on the pitch.  But Lewis desperately wants to play and he doesn’t know what to do when he’s given an exciting offer to attend an academy for the summer.  The story is simple but very relatable.  There are so many kids out there who come from poorer backgrounds and I like how this story shows us a main character who comes from such a background.  Despite their finances though, Lewis is still given an opportunity to attend, but his mum doesn’t want him to have anything to do with football after it killed his father.

The story feels so relatable and I love how Lewis’s love of football shines through the story and keeps him determined to play despite what his mum says.  I love what happens when Ash appears and sees Lewis playing and what happens later when Lewis gets the chance to play football with some other boys.  Lewis struggles a little with being the poor kid without a proper kit, but I do love how his skills in football are recognised despite this and how some of the other boys treat him when they see him.  The story has some themes of friendship, poverty and bullying but I like how things resolve and turn out for Lewis and his mum in the end.

There are some lovely illustrations throughout the book, some on a whole page or half a page.  I love how simple but fun these illustrations look, with the character’s faces and expressions seen easily, and I love what Lewis’s dog Trevor looks like too!  The illustrations really help make the book easier to read and I love how easy this book is to read in general thanks to the way it has been made.  The book itself is less than 90 pages which makes it easy to read for reluctant readers who struggle with bigger books, it also has a special font used for the text, making it easier for dyslexics to read and also spaced paragraphs.  The whole book is printed on thick yellowish pages too which makes it easier to read.  The illustrations are all in black, white and grey.

All to Play For book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

Overall this is such a lovely book and with an ending I just loved!  The last pages are so heart-warming and I love what happens with Lewis and his mum.  It’s the perfect ending and one which can also encourage kids reading it to not give up on their dreams and believe in themselves.  It’s such a brilliant story, and although I’ve never been into football myself, I know I’ll love reading this book again, and again!

What do you think of this book?  Do you like football?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂