ANYONE can write a children's book, can't they?
Madonna, Sarah Ferguson, John Travolta... they've all done it.
Well, now Frank Lampard has got in on the act, signing a deal to write a series of books, called Frankie's Magic Football, for children aged five and over.
Publishers Little Brown say the books will follow the adventures of a school boy called Frankie, his football-loving friends, and his pet dog Max.
Lampard, who is usually included on lists of lauded top 10 educated footballers, said: "I first had the idea of Frankie and his Magic Football when reading stories to my own children. Sport and reading are two essentials for us at home, so I decided to make up my own football stories and adventures. The characters are loosely based on friends and team-mates I've played with over the years. I am delighted that Little Brown liked the stories as much as my children and will be publishing the Frankie's Magic Football series."
The first book, Frankie Versus The Pirate Pillagers, will be published in June followed by two more this year and another two in 2014.
Let's hope it's all his own work and that he is as pleased with it as Arsenal's Theo Walcott was with his children's book, TJ and the Hat-Trick, which he declared to be his favourite book when asked in a survey. There's nothing like modesty with these modern footballers.
Lampard's publishing deal was handled by agents Neil Blair and Zoe King who also represent JK Rowling. They said the books were "full of loveable characters on wacky adventures" and destined for "great things".
Maybe so, but I'd hope that parents would rather buy books for their children based on the quality of the work and the dedication and skill of the writer. And even if parents are buying for young male readers who struggle to get into reading then there are good ones already available that won't get the publicity Lampard will generate. Dan Freedman, who once worked for the Football Association, has written a vibrant series about fictional footballer Jamie Johnson — and there are even football fiction books for dyslexic readers such as the enjoyable Number 7 Shirt by Alan Gibbons.
To be fair, maybe we should see what Lamps — who must be happy to be signing any deal given his ongoing situation at Chelsea— has got in his locker. You never know, it might be good. But 'Lampard signs children's book deal' is somehow not a headline to leave you over the moon.
- Martin Chilton, Telegraph.co.uk