Some time ago I read the first book in the Alfie Jones series, Alfie Jones and a Change of Fortune. The series is aimed at boys aged eight to eleven but even though I am not an avid football fan I loved the book as well. I was recently sent Alfie Jones and a Test of Character, which is the second book in the series. I was looking forward to finding out what problems Alfie had to overcome this time.
I had to hide Alfie Jones and a Test of Character from my son so I would have a chance to read it first. The story centres around Alfie Jones who plays for the Kingsway Colts. He dreams of being a professional footballer and in the last book was aided on the path to this dream by Madame Zola, a mysterious fortune teller who keeps appearing with the sound of wind chimes.
In this book it is the summer and the Kingsway Colts are about to play in their first major football tournament. Unfortunately the Colts former coach, Keith Johnson has formed a new team and the Kingsway Colts will be playing against them. Alfie knows Keith and his son, Jasper will be out for revenge and he soon finds they have a superstar player, Hayden on their team. With perfect timing Madame Zola reappears with the mysterious advice, “never judge a book by its cover”. Will Alfie figure out the advice in time?
I loved this book, we watch the Kingsway Colts as they progress though the tournament, keeping track of their points. We can feel their excitement to be playing and each of the matches has enough detail to feel realistic without being boring. The message of the book is about fair play and enjoying the game and it gets this across in an entertaining way. You really feel yourself cheering the Kingsway Colts on, hoping they will win. There is also the added drama of Alfie trying desperately to figure out what Madame Zola means, which makes for some funny scenes.
This is a great read for children and adults as well. My son now has the book and is avidly turning the pages wanting to find out what happens next. Any book that encourages boys to read more is a good thing and this definitely does the trick.