Sunday 1 May 2016

Meet Don Bradman

Meet Don Bradman by Coral Vass, illustrated by Brad Howe (Random House)
HB RRP $24.99
ISBN 978-1-92532-489-1

Reviewed by Jaquelyn Muller

I am a child of World Series Cricket. The colourful larrikins in their multi-coloured flares and sideburns seeded my lifelong and often misunderstood love of cricket. Between that and my love of superheros, I think my husband believes I was a 12 year-old-boy in a former life.

As an opening batswoman for my high school’s all-girl cricket team, my heroes included the likes of David Boon, Dean Jones and Geoff Marsh, but no one could ever deny that Australia’s pride and love of cricket would not be where it is without the ground-breaking career of Sir Don Bradman.

Meet Don Bradman is the latest release in Random House’s successful non-fiction Meet..picture book series. What I love about this series is that it not only showcases our prominent historical figures in a contemporary engaging way, but it also shows the depth of talent we have in our authors and illustrators, managing to pair just the right talents for each of the titles.

Coral Vass has written a factual text about Don Bradman’s rise to glory; however she has beautifully conveyed the life and times he lived in and why his success became so important to the average Australian during The Great Depression. Don Bradman’s humble beginnings resonate with so many and in retelling his story, Vass reminds us of his inspirational and at times wonky ascent to cricketing stardom. Who knew that Don Bradman at one point gave up cricket to be a junior champion tennis player or that he left school when he was 14 years old?

The evocative watercolours in Brad Howe’s illustrations are also highly entertaining and give you a feeling of a newspaper comic strip reminiscent of the age. His snapshots of Australian culture at the time will assist younger readers to understand how people consumed media and sport in the 1930s.

As always with the Meet….series, an historical timeline at the rear of the book details the specifics of Don Bradman’s illustrious career and make this book a great foundation for classroom learning. Don Bradman lives on through the iconic ‘Baggy Green’ he helped make famous.

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