Chook Doolan saves the day by James Roy

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Ill. by Lucinda Gifford. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781922244956
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Soccer. Chess. Courage. Chook doesn't want to play soccer as it is scary. He would much prefer to play chess in the library or at home with his mother but as his librarian says, 'you have to exercise your body as well as your brain'. His friend Joe gives him tips about playing soccer, but it is his brother Ricky who teaches him how to be a goalie and gives him all the strategies to save a goal.
Once again James Roy has come up with a realistic story that has great appeal and goes along at an engrossing pace to keep the reader's interest. Many children are scared about playing sport and would prefer to be indoors, but here Chook has some great support from his friend and brother that helps him save the goal at his soccer team. Not that doing that seems to impress Chook himself - he still would prefer to play chess!
The black and white illustrations are full of humour and add depth to the story, providing the reader with lots of funny moments as Chook's efforts to become a soccer player are portrayed.
This series is ideal for the child who is just becoming an independent reader. The warmth, contemporary themes and understated courage of Chook make the books stand out.
Pat Pledger