Speaking from the point of view of the primary school girl who loved rugby league with a passion – and played before school and every break time with some equally determined girls, I absolutely loved this book. Back in my day it really was unheard of for girls to play footy, but it always surprises me to find out that in some pockets of society it’s still not considered either suitable or feasible.
Young Daniella Murphy is out to prove her family and other doubters wrong. In a family dominated by males who all play league, this feisty young girl is determined to become part of the game she loves. Her grandma is totally opposed, her Dad refuses to be drawn on the subject, younger brothers and other boys are scornful but she at least has her older brother for support and then, unexpectedly, finds more aid in places she never imagined.
This is a ripping read for girls with big dreams but especially those who have a burning ambition to make it big in sport – particularly one that has long been the domain of males. Rikki-Lee Arnold’s first novel has a real ring of authenticity as she brings her knowledge and insight as a sports journalist to an inspirational narrative for young readers. I for one, would love to see the next instalment – are we going to follow Dani’s growth as a player?
Kiddos from around Year 4 upwards to Year 7 – particularly of course girls who are as footy-obsessed as I once was – will love it. A great addition to your collection as the season starts to heat up!
I grew up slightly obsessed with rugby league. Born and bred in the heart of Dragons’ territory in the glory days of that team, my girlfriends and I played footy every day in the school playground (I still bear a cracking scar on my knee from an untimely slide across the asphalt!). I begged my father to buy me my own football and was rather disappointed when it appeared – the rubbery kind not a leather one – which he found quite amusing. Clearly I had no clue how much a ‘real’ football cost! My love of the game has somewhat diminished over time but I’m still a diehard Dragons supporter and even after thirty odd years in Queensland still proudly wear my ‘Blues’ jersey at Origin time.
Despite my history with the great game I cannot deny that if a player ever deserved the epithet of legend it would be Jonathan Thurston. This shining star of league has not only proven his skill over and over again but is an exemplar of sportsmanship, teamwork and above that, a thoroughly decent, humble and compassionate human.
Young readers will be inspired by this version of his autobiography which begins with his childhood in Brisbane – too skinny, too sooky, too little – to be considered a likely professional player and traces his rise to the greatest heights the game can offer. From his debut with the Canterbury Bulldogs (nothing to say there) to his brilliance in State of Origin, internationals and of course the Cowboys readers will gobble up every detail of every game.
Since his retirement from the game this giant of league has continued to use his influence positively with the Jonathan Thurston Academy with its commitment to ensuring success for young people in every field be it studies, employment or well-being.
In a culture where so-called sporting heroes often fall far short as role models, JT is a stand-out whose ‘total legend’ status goes without saying.
Highly recommended for readers from around 10 years upwards.
The legion of fans that were captured by the first two Deadly D books will lap this one up as well!
And who wouldn’t be delighted to picture legendary coach Wayne Bennett caught up in a circus act?
In this new adventure Dylan and his best bro Justice are being stalked by some very scary clowns – scarier than most of their kind because really they are working for a very nasty villain known as the Ringmaster. BIGTOP circuses are definitely not what they seem – Biological Investigation Group to Organise Prototypes is a despicable organisation kidnapping people with special abilities to steal their DNA and create clones. No wonder they are after Dylan AKA Deadly D!
To add to this Dylan’s mum finds some incriminating evidence about his regular Deadly D transformations and he confesses to his role playing for the Broncos. Without hesitation Dylan is packed off to his Nana’s back in Mt Isa for a bit of good old-fashioned ‘sorting out’.
But everything and everyone seems to be going into a meltdown when their hero Deadly D disappears and Supercoach Bennett enlists Justice to help him find the missing star. When they take off on their search they are not expecting to be kidnapped by BIGTOP stooges and used as bait to lure Dylan into their evil clutches. With the usual high inks, near catastrophes, footy humour and general gentle mocking of Broncos legends, the adventure rockets along to a more than satisfactory conclusion.
This series has so much going for it – especially for those ‘hard to get at’ boys in your readership. Footy, positive Indigenous role models, terrific humour, ridiculous situations and triumphs of good vs bad – Hartley and Prince are really hitting the mark and let’s hope the series continue in the same engaging style.
Highly recommended for your lovers of footy especially – aged around 9 years upwards.