Saturday 23 January 2016

Nick’s Fabulous Footy Cards

Nick’s Fabulous Footy Cards by Greg Fish, illustrated by Jason Trevenen (Hip and Shoulder Books) PB RRP $9.99 ISBN 9780992533502

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This chapter book has a number of ingredients which should have strong appeal, especially for boys aged 6 to 9 years: it’s a thin book (66 pages), it’s generously illustrated and it features AFL and miniature people. As well as this, the story is fast-paced and filled with characters that children can readily relate to.

Young Nick is ‘as fast as a cheetah, only without the spots.’ He’s a whiz at football, but playing against the Angry Ants he breaks his ankle. While recuperating, he engages with one of his favourite hobbies: collecting footy cards, especially those of his favourite team, the Hammers. However, when he’s mended and returns to the game, he finds that he’s not as speedy as he was before his accident. 

Given a special set of cards, Nick is astounded when he awakens during the night to find the players in the set on his bed, preparing for a match. The incredulous boy is told by captain, Joel ‘Scotty’ Scott, that he’s the real player but in a miniature body. The goal of this mini-Hammers’ team is to help Nick regain his confidence, lost as a result of his injury.

After a real-life match during which Nick plays well, the mini-team returns with more coaching tips. This is a clever manoeuvre by author Fish as any young AFL player reading this book would certainly be helped by the sound advice that's offered. There are a number of matches Nick’s involved with and each time he’s coached by his new friends.

This incident-packed book shows not only Nick’s improvement, but it finishes with the adult Nick, a family man, who it seems has made a footy career. 

Well written and edited with plenty of cartoon black and white illustrations, this book is sure to be a hit, especially with children who are challenged learners or reluctant readers. Highly recommended.

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