Monday 31 January 2022

Cricket I Just Love It

Cricket I Just Love It by Alister Nicholson and Tom Jellett (Allen and Unwin) RRP $19.99 ISBN: 9781760526801

Reviewed by Jeffery E Doherty

Cricket I Just Love It, is a fun, rhyming non-fiction picture book for readers of all ages, especially lovers of cricket. The delightful illustrations by Tom Jellett mesh perfectly with the text that rolls easily off the tongue.

Cricket is not just a sport for boys. This has become much more obvious over the last decade with the kid’s cricket programs like Cricket Blast, and with the higher profile women’s cricket has been getting on television. Cricket is not just five days of standing in a field anymore. With the one-day game and the amazing, action packed Twenty20 Big Bash, cricket has become an everyday sport in Summer. This quirky and fun book takes the message a step further to show that anyone can say and mean the words, “Cricket, I just love it. It really is the best.”

For newcomers to the game of cricket, Alister Nicholson explains every aspect of the game. We learn about the gear, the rules, the fielding positions, the batting shots, and the dangers of practicing inside. We are introduced to some of the legends of the game like Meg Lanning, Perry and Healy, Don Bradman, Lillee, and Ponting. It also shows that cricket is not just played on cricket ovals. You can play almost anywhere, at school, in the back yard and even at the beach. Cricket is for everyone.

One of my favourite pages in the book has an amazing illustration by Tom Jellett of a game of backyard cricket. There are boys and girls, a dog and the bowler sits in a wheelchair. The text reads, “Cricket, WE just love it! A great game for us all. Girls and boys, the young and old, the big and very small! On wheels, bare feet and four legs too, no matter what your style. Get out, enjoy some cricket… it’s sure to make you smile.” The book certainly made me smile, (and in one place, nearly wet myself laughing.)

Cricket, I just Love It is a wonderful book, from the text and illustrations to the design of the endpapers, which show fun cricket facts and the meanings of some rather whacky cricketing words. At the end of the book, there is a QR code that the reader can scan to listen to an audiobook version of the book read by the author.  I thoroughly recommend this to readers young and old. It would also make a great resource for school libraries.

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