I hadn't heard of this book, or the author, before a copy plopped itself at my front door (thanks to a lucky break late last year, when Fremantle Press sent me a lovely parcel of books as a prize). It turns out Jake's Great Game is the fourth book that Ken Spillman has written in the Jake Series.
I knew I was going to like this book from the time I read the dedication
For every kid who makes an effort and all those who encourage them.
Sometimes books that set out to be encouraging can be preachy and soppy. No danger of that here. This is a wonderful early chapter book. Jake is keen to try soccer. He buys some fancy silver soccer boots, but still has trouble dribbling the ball. His hard-kicking Nana helps him practice. Jake isn't a natural soccer player but he does persist, and tries hard, and does of course eventually find his feet, and his place in the team.
There's a great sense of fun too. Repeated mentions of dog slobber. Just for effect. No real purpose. It's a great little book. I look forward to coming across the other books in the series. I will give this one to my son's primary school library, where I hope it will find a happy home, and lots of enthusiastic young readers.