Bernard Beagle dreams of playing soccer for his school team. There is just one problem - he is terrible at sports.

Cody Fisher, captain of the Bayview Primary Tidal Waves, is Bernard's one-way ticket to the midfield.

But following his dream won't be easy. There's a savage dog on the loose in Woodland Bay and Sadie Button is wearing her hair in pig tails. Not to mention that witch across the road is doing magic tricks again.

As Bernard pushes for qualification it becomes obvious - he's going to need a lot more than Cody's friendship to make the squad.

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My Review
Bernard Beagle Kicks Off is a cute kid's book that will appeal to middle-grade readers (ages 8+, I'd say). 

The story follows Bernard, a young boy who is determined to make the soccer team at school. The only problem is, he can't even kick a ball, let alone play soccer. The other kids make fun of him during phys-ed because of his inability to play sports. But that doesn't sway Bernard. Not even the merciless teasing can stop him from trying out for the team. He only has to convince the captain, Cody, to train him and make him better. Easier said than done.

Add in a vicious dog, a nasty old neighbor, and a crush on a girl, and Bernard's life becomes a lot more exciting in no time at all. 

I really enjoyed reading this book. It's engaging and easy to read. Kids will find themselves connecting to the characters, who are well-written and likeable. They'll be rooting for Bernard to learn to play soccer and make the team, and they'll be cheering on the tentative friendship budding between Cody and Bernard. There's also a good lesson in there to be kind to others. At one point, Bernard saves Cody, and even though he seems ungrateful at first, it goes to show that a little bit of courage and bravery can go a long way. 

I'm giving Bernard Beagle Kicks Off 4 stars. It's a really good read, and I liked it a lot. If you have kids who are looking for something new and exciting to read, definitely check this one out.

Author Bio
Daniel Murphy was born in Adelaide, South Australia. A keen soccer player, he has always wanted to write a book about his favourite sport. Daniel writes for Writer's Edit, a Sydney-based literary magazine. His work is featured in the second volume of Kindling, a Writer's Edit anthology.