'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 16 June 2011

Review: Jackson’s Goal

Following in the footsteps of Jackson’s Footy, Jackson’s Goal is a charmingly Australian book that touches on a great Aussie tradition – Australian Rules football.

Young Jackson is footy-obsessed. He practices in the back yard all day long – taking marks, handballing, assessing the wind direction… all with a little bit of help from an unexpected source… Mum. She may be cooking dinner or doing the gardening, but Mum has one eye on Jackson’s progress as he works hard to make the team.

When the time comes for the team’s players to be announced, Jackson is ecstatic to be chosen. He dreams of kicking the winning goal for his team, and when the time inevitably comes, the young footballer puts all he’s learned into place – in the hope of securing his finest dream.

[Former AFL player] Russell’s voice in Jackson’s Goal is warm and all-Australian without resorting to ockerisms. His text is beautifully edited and flows very nicely. I particularly enjoyed his unexpected use of dialogue and colloquial terms that make Jackson’s Goal a joy to read.

Bright, wild, loose and looping illustrations by Gynell are a feat in movement and football madness – perfectly suited to the tone of the book. It’s clear the artist creates with a lot of passion. The images of Oscar the dog taking a mark and that football sailing towards the goals at the end of the book are priceless.

Does Jackson kick that goal? Well, you’ll just have to find out. The warm ending will not only make kids smile, it is a timely reminder for modern kids that hard work and practice is vital if we want to achieve anything in life. That – and a little bit of help from Mum.

Title: Jackson’s Goal
Author: Dwayne Russell
Illustrator: Donna Gynell
Publisher: Slattery Media Group, $25
Publication Date: April 2011
ISBN: 9781921778001
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 2 – 6
Type: Picture Book