Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! by Katrina Germein ill Janine Dawson

Aussie Rules is awesome.
I always arrive on time.
Out on the boundary Bailey warms up.
He takes a bounce and boots the ball; a banana kick bends to me.

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark!’ begins with the arrival of players at an AFL football game, continues through the game and ends as the game does. Told from the perspective of one of the players, it is also an alphabet book. As the game progresses, so does the alphabet. Every player has a chance to shine, whether it’s taking marks, making a pass, or kicking a goal. The rain may come down, the grass may turn into mud, but nothing can dampen the enthusiasm of these ball players. Illustrations depict a dull and rainy day with umbrella-wielding parents cheering from the sidelines.

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark!’ celebrates junior AFL football, and all the things it should be about – having fun, having a go, learning teamwork and sliding in the mud. The alphabetic sentences read easily and are full of football-ness. The illustrations are full of extra elements for the reader to find, from the mud following the flight of the ball on the ‘f’ page to the child eating under the watchful eye of a magpie on the ‘v’ page. A broad range of cultures and body types are represented, as is the child who lives, eats, breathes and sleeps football. Recommended for early-schoolers.

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark!, Katrina Germein ill Janine Dawson
Ford Street Publishing 2017
ISBN: 9781925272673

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

Delilah's Dream, by Ian Trevaskis & Janine Dawson

Delilah sat alone in the henhouse and laid a creamy-smooth egg, and dreamed.
She dreamed of a life beyond the farmyard gate; a life full of wild and wonderful adventures.
When she told her sisters of her dreams, they cackled and laughed. Hannibal shook his comb and told her not to be silly, that she was just an ordinary, everyday farmyard hen.

Delilah isn’t like the other hens. She dreams of doing big things – but nothing bigger than one day flying. The other chickens scoff at her dreams, but Delilah is undeterred. Then, when a fox visits the farmyard late one night, it is Delilah, and her adventurous spirit, that saves the day.

Delilah’s Dream is a gorgeous picture book story about following dreams, self-belief and friendship. With gentle text by Ian Trevaskis, and watercolour and ink illustrations by Janine Dawson, Delilah and her friends come to life with humour and a mild message.

Very cute.

Delilah’s Dream, by Ian Trevaskis and Janine Dawson
New Frontier, 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

A Brief History of the Island of Dipsquittie

What an honour and a pleasure it is for me to write this book.
For thirty years I have been a Professor of Places Nobody Heard Of. I have written a great many books on unheard-of places. But, strangely, nobody seems to have heard of my books. That was really starting to pip me off and I was seriously thinking of becoming a Professor of Books Nobody Has Read. But then the most amazing thing happened.

Poor Professor Loder-Bull. He holidays in Scotland only to get lost in a blizzard. But just when all seems lost, he is rescued by a pink-and-purple tartaned Scot named Fergus. And finally, it seems that Professor Loder-Bull has found a place-nobody-has-heard-of that he can tell the world about. Dipsquittie is an island visited only by those blown off course by the elements. Once there, visitors discover a peaceful, happy settlement with a King and Queen whose main role is to hold parties. There was a battle with the occupants of the northern part of the island many, many years ago, but that is so long ago as to be almost forgotten. Then two Moo Coos arrive followed by Samuel B Gliblip. He has plans. And the Moo Coos are just the start of it.

A Brief History of the Island of Dipsquittie is a delightful romp through the history of an island happily lost beyond the rainclouds and wind of storms. Fortunately, Brother Bedsoc kept an account of the war, how it came to start and how it turned out. King Eggberga and Queen Syllia both played a part, as did Will Winkle/Tinkle, the undercover spy and a ten year-old boy, Flub. It was a most unusual war. The text is enhanced by illustrations scattered throughout and around the text (reminiscent of Terry Denton’s illustrations in the margins of the ‘Just’ series). A Brief History of the Island of Dipsquittie begs to be read aloud, allowing the listener to savour all the sookie eggs and stuffed blurtfish on offer.

Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.

A Brief History of the Island of Dipsquittie

A Brief History of the Island of Dipsquittie, by Prof Walter Loder-Bull, ill Janine Dawson
Omnibus Books 2008
ISBN: 9781862917620

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Bobbie Dazzler, by Margaret Wild & Janine Dawson

Bobbie the wallaby can hop and skip and bounce. But she cannot do the splits. Her friends tell her not to mind, but she does mind – a lot. Then when Bobbie finally manages to do the splits, she gets stuck and her friends have to help her out. But Bobby doesn’t mind – because now she knows that she cando the splits.

Bobbie Dazzler is a beautiful new picture book from the talented pairing of author Margaret Wild and illustrator Janine Dawson. Wild’s text is simple and joyful, celebrating a small achievement and a lovely friendship, with humour and an innate understanding of the pride children take in developing new skills. The illustrations, in pen and ink and watercolour, are a delight, featuring four warm and lively Australian animal characters. While all the illustrations are gorgeous, a special favourite is the final one, without text, showing the four friends having a group hug, contented smiles on their faces. The endpapers, too, featuring Bobbie’s happy friends and pictures of Australian flora, are also superb.

This is a truly dazzling offering for young Australians.

Bobby Dazzler, by Margaret Wild & Janine Dawson
Working Title, 2006

Pudding & Chips, by Penny Matthews

Chips the sheepdog takes his role very seriously. If he isn’t needed to round up the sheep, he gets busy rounding up the other animals. Except there is one animal – Pudding the goose – who refuses to be rounded up. When Chips chases Pudding, she flies at him, and soon he is the one being chased.

When a fox starts visiting the farm, it is Pudding who raises the alarm. but when he catches two of the other geese, Pudding changes. All the honk goes out of her. Then, without warning she disappears.

Everyone misses Pudding, but Chips misses her the most. So, when early one morning he hears her honking on the hill, he is the first to go and greet her. Together they chase off the fox, who has made another visit, before Pudding reveals the secret reason for her absence.

Penny Matthews’ gentle but richly woven text is delightfully complemented by the pen, ink and watercolour illustrations of Janine Dawson. For teachers in preprimary or lower primary classrooms, Pudding & Chips would make an excellent complement to Matthews’ award-winning A Year on Our Farm, although of course it stands wonderfully on its own for home or school reading.

Pudding & Chips, by Penny Matthews, illustrated by Janine Dawson
ABC Books, 2004

Junkyard Dogs, by Margaret Balderson

In an uptown mansion, four pampered pooches – Billy, Bolly, Bella and Blue – live in luxury. They have a great view and a lovely lawn, and are bathed weekly in ‘la Poochette’ shampoo, but they have absolutely nothing to do. Across town, two mutts called Molly and Moo live in a junkyard and spend their days frolicking and clowning around.

One day Molly and Moo cross town and visit their pampered friends. They decide to liberate them and take them out for an excursion – to the tip. The six dogs have a wonderful time, but the four from the hill are in trouble when they get home dirty and smelly.

Times change, however, when the pampered pooches’ owner goes bankrupt and is forced to sell his big house and move across town. Guess who his new next door neighbour is?

Junkyard Dogs is a fun rhyming picture book by Margaret Balderson. Her quirky rhyme style is well complemented by the watercolour illustrations of Janine Dawson, whose dogs are adorable.

A fun text that preschoolers will love.

Junkyard Dogs by Margaret Balderson, illustrated by Janine Dawson
Scholastic, 2003

Dulcie and Dud and the Really Secret Secret, by Carol Ann Martin

Mrs Besome is organising a Grand Pet Parade and all the kids are going to bring their pets. Even Dulcie – which is strange, because Dulcie doesn’t have a pet. But somehow, Dulcie finds herself putting her hand up in class and telling everyone that she will be bringing Muriel.

Now, all Ducie needs to do is to find a Muriel before the big show. As luck has it, Dulcie and Dud do find a Muriel. ALl they have to do is find a place to put her (if she really is a her) until the big show. Can they keep the really secret secret, and will Muriel win the pet show?

Dulcie and Dud and the Really Secret secret is the fourth Dulcie and Dud book from author Carol Ann Martin and illustrator Janine Dawson. The combination of fun plot, endearing characters and clever line drawings makes for an entertaining book, accessible to readers aged 6 to 8, making their transition from picture book texts to early novels.

A fun story.

Dulcie and Dud and the Really Secret Secret, by Carol Ann Martin, illustrated by Janine Dawson
Omnibus Books, 2003.

Dulcie and Dud and the Really Cool Club, by Carol Ann Martin

Portia Pratt has started a club and has asked all the poeple she likes to join. Dulcie and Dud haven’t been invited, but they don’t care. They’re going to start a club of their own and aks their friends to join.

Dulcie’s new club is called the Invisibles, becuse they like to do things invisibly. Things like surprising their teacher with flowers, or cleaning Mister Barker’s chalkboard. But the invisibles need to do a really big good deed if they want to do better than Portia’s club.

Then the children hear about Mister Braithwaite’s problem. Mrs Rossi is trying to get him to sell his home and move out – but all he wants is to stay in his house. The only thing it needs, he says, is a coat of paint. Enter the invisibles, with a great plan for helping Mister Braithwaite out.

Dulcie and Dud and the Really Cool Club is the third book about these loveable characters. This self-contained episode is both humorous and easy to read, making it an ideal first novel for 6 to 8 year old readers.

Author Carol Ann Martin has written numerous Cocky’s Circle books,as well as another children’s novel Waiting for Jason (1995). She is well supported in Dulcie and Dud by the comic line-drawings of illustrator Janine Dawson.

Lots of fun!

Dulcie and Dud and the Really Cool Club, by Carol Ann Martin, illustrated by Janine Dawson
Omnibus Books, 2003

Talk to Me, by Marguerite Hann Syme

Anna is lonely and bored. She wants someone to talk to and have fun with. Mum is too busy talking on her mobile phone. So are Dad AND Uncle Jeff AND Kat.

Anna does all she can to get their attention but they are just not listening. The only person who does listen is Fang, the lonely letterbox monster, and he can’t answer her. Is there a way to solve her lonliness AND Fang’s? Talk to Me, by Marguerite Hann Syme, is a Solo book from Omnibus Books. Solo books are designed for young readers making the transition from picture books and emergent readers to the novel format. With ample illustrations to support the text, kids have an opportunity to connect with the text and read succesfully.

The cartoon-style illustrations of Janine Dawson are gorgeous. Anna especially will be endearing to adult readers.

Talk to Me is a fun read, but also has a subtle message for parents and other adults about mobile phones and having time for children.


Talk to Me, by Marguerite Hann Syme
Omnibus Books, Scholastic Australia, 2002