Review Blog

Aug 05 2019

A boy called Bob becomes an AFL Footballer by Bob Murphy and Tony Wilson

cover image

Illus. by Phillip Marsden. Piccolo Nero, 2019. ISBN: 9781760641429.
(Age: 8-11) Themes: AFL Football, Bob Murphy, Western Bulldogs Football Club, Families. A Boy called Bob Becomes an AFL Footballer is a laugh-out loud, footy-filled novel that reveals the highs and lows, hard work and dedication need to be an elite footballer. Bob shares openly and honestly about his family: his mum was a nun and his dad a priest. They fell in love, were married, became teachers and raised three children including Robbie the youngest. Sock footy, tree climbing and visiting his many cousins made his childhood fun. The school oval was a rectangle and covered in gravel, the team sure was tough!
Each chapter heading gives a fun explanation of what's to come. In chapter 5 Bob meets his future partner Justine Quigley at the high school swimming carnival. Bob dreamed of being an AFL player; he trained hard, loved the smell of new Sherrin footballs and had his family's support. Two dozen relatives and friends watched the AFL draft pick when eighteen-year-old Bob was chosen for the Western Bulldogs team.
His first year was one of highs and lows: free gear, his photo on footy cards, and pain from the hard training, overcoming shyness and feeling judged were difficult. Bob shares from the heart, the elation of scoring a goal in the final seconds and the tough times when the coach is challenging them to do better, spraying Bob in the front row with spit. There are triumphs and tragedies when Bob injures his knee twice, tons of footy tips and plenty of on field action.
Tony Wilson author of the The Selwood Boys and Bob Murphy have co-authored a rousing junior novel, written in an easy to read, fun style just right for sports and AFL fans. Phillip Marsden's cartoons add humour as well. Bob's knee is totally twisted around on the stretcher! Share A Boy called Bob Becomes an AFL Footballer with a middle primary class and they'll love the asides, the family support and learn about the hard work and dedication needed to be at the top of any sport.
Rhyllis Bignell

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