Great goal! Marvellous mark! by Katrina Germein

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Ill. by Janine Dawson. Ford Street, 2017. ISBN 9781925272673
(Ages: 3-6) Alphabet. Aussie Rules Football. With this title the incredibly successful Australian author Katrina Germein (author of My Dad thinks he's funny) continues in successfully capturing Australian culture, this time as it relates to Australian Rules Football. The narrative, chronicling a children's footy match, moves through the alphabet from A-Z, with each page highlighting words starting with that letter (e.g., 'Aussie rules is awesome. I always arrive on time'). The initial letters of words beginning with the focus letter are in coloured and bolded text, encouraging auditory and visual letter recognition. The narrative includes lots of Aussie footy lingo (hanger, banana kick, screamer) that young AFL fans will love. The language used also encourages good sportsmanship and team support as it shows the children praising and showing respect for each other.
The cartoony and fun illustrations capture the diversity of Australian culture, as well as inspiring gender equality by showing boys and girls playing alongside each other. The children have that Aussie have-a-go attitude as they keep playing despite the teeming rain; they have unwavering enthusiasm. People are being knocked over and tackled but everyone is having fun, especially when the dog joins in! Even the saturated parents on the sidelines are incredibly cheerful and enjoying each other's company. In an area that is increasingly competitive and serious, this really is a reminder of what young people's, and perhaps all, sport should be like: enjoyable and supportive. Great goal! Marvellous mark! is energetic with fast-paced action and speedy writing to satisfy those sports mad youngsters who may struggle to sit still for long. Perfect for little AFL players and fans.
Nicole Nelson