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

Thunderstorm Dancing, by Katrina Germein & Judy Watson

9781743314593.jpgDaddy is the wind
whizzing and blowing
howling and growing
making trees whoosh!
making seas swoosh!

A day at the beach is interrupted by an approaching thunderstorm, and the family rushes home to shelter as the win blows, the rain falls and thunder rumbles. Most of the family dance their way through the storm – echoing what is happening outside – but the viewpoint character, a little girl, is very unsure. While every other family member dances and acts a different part of the storm – rain, wind, thunder, lightning – she waits till the storm has passed to play her own shining role.

Thunderstorm Dancing is an energetic picture book about thunderstorms, dancing and families. The text makes good use of poetic techniques including onomatopoeia, assonance and rhyme, so that the reader can hear the storm raging and the frenetic movement of the family. The illustrations use a variety of techniques including black ink, pencil and washes to similarly bring to life the movement of the storm as well as the contrast between light and dark. The end papers, with seagulls soaring in the storm inside the front cover and resting on the beach in the back, are a gorgeous touch.

Thunderstorm Dancing is an excellent read-aloud offering.

Thunderstorm Dancing, by Katrina Germein & Judy Watson
Allen & Unwin, 2015
ISBN 9781743314593

Available from good bookstores and online.

Littledog, by Katrina Germein & Tamsin Ainslie

Littledog found us one holiday evening.
He was waiting at the shack when we got back from the beach.

Sam and his family are at the beach for the summer holidays. They are befriended by a small dog they immediately christen Littledog. Despite their best efforts to find Littledog’s owners, no one claims him. One by one he wins over the family, slowly and cheerfully overcoming all opposition. By the end of the holidays, he has become one of the family. Illustrations are full page and imbued with summer’s golden hues. The scenes are iconically Australian from the ‘shack’ to the barbecue on the verandah. The characters are simply drawn and reflect the magic of long summer days. Littledog is just plain cute with his floppy ear and perky tail. Endpapers are a luscious collage of craft fabrics and summer fun.

Littledog appears from nowhere and attaches himself to Sam and his family. He fits right in with their relaxed holiday lifestyle and wags ‘his whole bottom’ to show his happiness. There’s a definite sense of him choosing them to stay with. It does raise the question though of where he came from, a question that isn’t answered although the family do try to find out. Sam is the nominal narrator, but the story belongs to the entire family. Littledog captures long, lazy summer days, family fun and the joys of pet ownership (even if the last is unexpected). Recommended for pre- and early schoolers.


Littledog, Katrina Germein, ill Tamsin Ainslie,
Scholastic Press 2010
ISBN: 9781741695526

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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

Baby Gets Dressed, by Katrina Germein & Sascha Hutchinson

It’s time to get dressed.
But what will Baby wear?

This cute little board book is a simple rhyming story of baby getting dressed for the day, and a seek and find book rolled into one. On each spread the text indicates the next item which baby will wear, while the left hand illustration shows happy baby dressed in previous items and playing. The right hand page shows five of the new item, in different patterns and colours, with the young reader invited to find the correct item for baby to wear.

The rhyming text scans well, making it easy to read and to predict text, whilst the illustrations, using bright collage materials, will engage young viewers.

Baby gest Dressed is suitable for birth to preschool aged children.

Baby Gets Dressed [Board book]

Baby gest Dressed, by Katrina Germein & Sascha Hutchinson
Working Title, 2009

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