Thursday, 3 May 2012

Have a Go, Henry

Have a Go, Henry! by Kate Willson, illustrated by Marjory Gardner (Celapene Press)
PB RRP $ 10.95
ISBN 978-0-9806994-3-2
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Henry decides to ‘have a go’ in his school’s under-ten footy team. He wants to claim some of the chanting that follows his successful sister, ‘Super Suzy’, in every sports match. Clinging to Grandma Lulu’s words, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’, Henry is determined to become a sports star, and make Suzy eat her ridiculing words.

Hopeless, that’s what everyone calls him. But when Henry tries football, basketball, swimming and soccer, he starts to believe that’s what he is. He’s had enough of Suzy being treated as if she was the only thing worth mentioning in conversations. Henry is determined not to attend the Ravens’ Grand Final Netball game but is finally coerced into it by his parents. 

Henry escapes from the game by plugging in his iPod and shutting out the roar of the crowd. With a head full of rap music, he views a different picture. It is the last quarter and Suzy’s team, the Ravens, are not their usual winning selves. Suzy is not so ‘Super’. She looks frazzled; on edge. Things are not going according to plan. The cheerleaders aren’t cheering.  The crowds aren’t supporting the players.

He can’t let Suzy lose the game. With Grandma Lulu’s quotes floating through his brain, Henry step forward. He gets out in front of the spectators and sparks up the cheerleaders with a rap that’s rousing. Then he starts on the crowd for encouragement and support with his rap rhyme. Suzy is next to be uplifted. Then the game is on fire, so is Henry who has discovered what he is good at by having a go!

In this first book from a new author, children learn about discovering what they are good at, which does not necessarily mean something that others do. It shows that each person is unique, with individual qualities and abilities which they uncover only by trial and error. An encouraging and optimistic view on finding what you’re good at, written with humour for younger readers with complementing illustrations that reinforce the text beautifully. 

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