Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Fox Swift

Fox Swift by David Lawrence with Cyril Rioli, illustrations by Jo Gill (Slattery Media Group)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 978-0-9874205-3-4
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton

First I must confess, I am a massive Aussie Rules football fan. So when this book hit my desk it was one I leapt into as soon as two of my kids were done with it. Fortunately that didn't take long as Fox Swift combines a fast and funny story with all things footy. An added bonus for us, as Hawthorn Football Club fans, is that the Hawks genius Cyril Rioli features in the story (and on the cover).  

In the tradition of Specky Magee, footy fans will love how the story revolves around all things footy. Eleven-year old footy fanatic and star player Fox Swift moves to the small country town of Davinal with his parents and brother Chase. Fox quickly discovers there is a great divide in Davinal. Two football clubs exist but with vastly different fortunes. The Dragons are well funded and successful while the Diggers have rundown facilities, a useless coach and little chance of fielding a team, let alone win a match. Fox soon makes friends and enemies and this leads him to the hapless Diggers. Through enthusiasm and persistence, he and his new friends stand up to the local bullies and in the process rejuvenates the Diggers. They also have the helping hand of Cyril Rioli (and a visit from Buddy Franklin too!).

Fox Swift is full of footy but there is more than that. Other issues in society are woven throughout. Fox's parents are lawyers advocating for refugees. Themes of inclusiveness, not giving up, persistence and friendship run through the book.  For the Aussie Rules uninitiated there is a glossary of terms and Cyril's tips on handballing, kicking and marking are at the end of the book for everyone to follow. Jo Gill's black-and-white illustrations throughout add to the humour of the story.

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