Sporty kids: Footy by Felice Arena
Published by Penguin Books Australia
Sporty Kids - Footy is lots of fun for beginner readers, with a positive message that is sure to engage sports and footy minded kids. With big, clear font and large, grey-scale illustrations dominating most pages, this early chapter book is easy to pick up, flick through and entice young readers. Jellett’s big-headed characters draw focus to their facial expressions, bringing the simple text to life. Whilst simple, Arena's text does not talk down to children and he is not afraid to use some challenging words - the fun of the story makes the challenge worth it. With only a couple of sentences on most pages, and the text separated into small chapters, early readers will quickly gain a sense of mastery.
My lack of sport interest, especially AFL, did not diminish my enjoyment of the comical story, however I was slow to pick up on some terms that have a particular meaning in this code of football eg marking and handballing. The latter I picked up through the story about Joe who is excellent at all the skills needed for footy, except his handballing lets him down. His coach gives him the great advice to practice, and so each day of the week Joe finds something different to help practice his handballing technique - a loaf of bread, a pencil case, a bag of flour - all very entertaining! Does the practice pay off? You'll have to read it to find out!
The book ends with an introduction to others sporty kids (boys and girls) in the series, coaching tips on how to handball, some footy jokes and some footy facts.
This is a great package to entice beginning readers - I hope to see more of the Sporty Kids.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Felice Arena
Illustrator: Tom Jellett
Title: Sporty Kids: Footy
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Published: April 2015