Wednesday 25 January 2012

Jake’s Great Game

Jake’s Great Game by Ken Spillman, illustrated by Chris Nixon (Fremantle Press)
PB RRP $10.95
ISBN 9-781-921-888-502
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin

Jake’s Great Game is a fast moving, fun and lively read for junior primary readers. 

Jake decides he wants to start playing soccer and his dad takes him to buy some footy boots. Jake likes the silver ones, and he just knows he’s going to be an awesome soccer star! But Jake’s enthusiasm soon takes a nosedive, as he finds out that soccer is not as easy as he thought it would be. When he isn’t tripping, he’s slipping. His dribbling looks like bad passing and his passing looks like bad dribbling. Will he ever get his great game? Everyone else seems to have the hang of it except him.

The moral of Jake's Great Game is that if you keep trying you'll be rewarded. It’s all about persistence and application. This message is delivered through the story of Jake trying to play soccer. His initial failure (despite his new silver footy boots) is compounded by the fact that Jake’s dad isn’t very knowledgeable about soccer either, as much as he tries to help Jake. However, things greatly improve when Jake's coach recognises Jake’s instinctive ability as a goalie. Jake’s Nana provides him with lots of practice in the backyard and his first game is a an absolute triumph. Jake is an awesome soccer star goalie!

Funny, wise and beautifully told, Jake’s Great Game is a fun story for kids who are starting to read books with chapters. Chris Nixon’s black-and-white illustrations can be found on every page. You don’t need to have to have read all the other Jake Series books to enjoy this one but if you have read the others, you’ll probably want to read this one, too—especially if you like books about sport.

The Jake series are terrific stories for boys and girls from five to ten years of age and they have a range comprehensive teaching notes readily available on-line at

Neridah McMullin is the author of three books for children. Her next book is an Indigenous folklore story called 'Kick it to me!'. It’s an ‘aussie rules’ story that’s being endorsed by the Australian Football League. Neridah loves family, footy, and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also happens to love footy!).

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