The Mystery of the Soccer Snitch created by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Soccer season is well under way for the Alden children, Jessie specifically. Things are going just great until it is made known that someone has written a letter, to the town newspaper, accusing the team mascot, Kayla, of some pretty awful things. There is going to be an investigation into these accusations. Kayla is not a team player. Kayla hogs the ball. There is plenty more. The coach already doesn’t like Kayla very much; it’s something to do with Kayla’s mom.
The team mascot was going to be a representative for the team at a soccer celebration in Brazil. In Kayla’s place, people suggest Jessie, but she doesn’t feel as if she deserves the honor. People start whispering about who wrote the letter. Then there’s a broken window. Did Kayla break the window? Was it Jessie who wrote the letter? Was it another teammate?
Jessie feels that maybe people just don’t understand Kayla very well, so she starts talking to Kayla. Jessie finds out that Kayla isn’t actually that bad. Kayla reveals that she doesn’t actually like soccer that much; she would rather go to art class, but Kayla’s older sister played soccer and her parents insist that she play soccer as well. Could Kayla have written the letter? Who will end up going to Brazil?
What I liked
I’m not that into this one, really.
What I didn’t like
This book contains a lot of back-biting gossip, which certainly happens in schools, and in any child’s life. With all that said, I don’t really think it’s enjoyable for kids to read about other back-bitey kids. Sure, reading a book about back-bitey kids could certainly illustrate to any child that it’s not just them that encounter back-bitey kids at school, but other than that, what purpose does this serve? The kids in this book are back-bitey to Kayla, but there isn’t a whole lot of resolution to that. They don’t all suddenly decide to be nice, upstanding model children to Kayla.
There is also a lot of back-bitey crap going on with the adults. It’s made clear that the coach does not like Kayla because of something to do with Kayla’s mother. A bad relationship maybe? Who cares? That’s not something you take out on children, or you’re not supposed to rather, but it happens. There are plenty of situations where children suffer because of some bull crap between the parents, or the adults. It’s not fair, but it certainly happens. Should it be a thing in a children’s book? Maybe it does serve some purpose to teach kids that maybe they’ll get the short end of the stick because some other adult has a beef with one of their parents, but I’m not really into it.
I’m also on the fence about the idea of making a kid do some activity. On the one hand, I side with the kid because I was a kid at one point. If my parents had made me play soccer when I didn’t want to, I would certainly hope that maybe my parents would understand that I wasn’t interested in it and let me quit. On the other hand, sometimes kids just want to do nothing. It’s fine that Kayla maybe wants to go to art class instead of soccer, but how long is she going to keep up with art class? I think sometimes parents have to make kids stick with an extra curricular activity to improve the child’s character as far as learning determination and diligence, but I also think that a parents needs to get their money worth out of a kid’s activity. I know in some senses that sounds awful, but if you paid six-hundred dollars for a clarinet, or something, so your kid could try out band, but then they decided that they didn’t want to do it anymore after a month, I kind of think that they have to keep going. Six-hundred dollars for one month of band is not worth it. If my kid went to an entire school-year of band, I think I would have gotten my money’s worth.
This isn’t one of the better Boxcar Children’s books.
If your child told you they didn’t want to do an activity, would you make them stick it out?
How would you feel if a person was mistreating your child because of a beef they had with you?