Review Blog

Mar 06 2012

Kick it to me by Neridah McMullin

cover image

Ill. by Peter Hudson. One Day Hill (distributed by Scholastic) 2012. ISBN 978 0 980794 6 1.
Warmly recommended. Picture book. Football. The story of the beginnings of Aussie Rules Football is not a story widely known, but it is brought to life in this engaging story by Neridah McMullin. Tom Wills, a young boy living on a Western Victoria pastoral station, was sad at the end of summer when cricket was finished for the year. His Aboriginal friends invited him to join them, and so he learnt the basics of Marn-grook. Years later, in a position where a new game was being touted to encourage fitness in Australia, rugby was suggested, but Tom Wills, famously said ; "we shall have a game of our own" and so Aussie Rules Football was born.
A two water bag introduction by Eddie McGuire gives the premise for the book, but readers will jump straight into the story and get what they can from it by themselves. They will engage with the story readily, it has all the ingredients necessary for a good tale, football, boys out by themselves trying new things and comradeship. That it is true, adds another dimension to the tale, and readers will look at the game and its Aboriginal footballers with renewed interest and respect.
The lively illustrations will engage and direct the reader to things mentioned in the text. I loved the close up pictures of the boys' faces staring straight out of the frame; they give a directness to the story and challenge the reader to think about what they are reading. The biographical information about Tom Wills rounds off a book which slots in well with our new curriculum.
Fran Knight

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