Debbie Coombes, Going to the Footy, Magabala Books, August 2019, 24pp., RRP $19.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781925936964
2019 sees Tiwi islanders celebrating 50 years of their love for the Australian Football League (AFL). This jaunty early childhood picture book from an indigenous author/illustrator explodes with the simple passion and fun of being together in true Australian style. Perfect rhythm is matched in text and image. The opening line ‘Everyone is going to the footy’ is built upon with a repetition of earthy ochres and punchy black as Coombes lists the vehicles taking families to the game.
With canoe, tinny and troopy included as modes of transport this is a clever way of introducing readers to culture and of exploring what is unique to Australia. Coombes is a Tiwi woman who learnt to paint under the direction of her grandfather and her mother. She hopes the book will inspire young children and families to spend more time together.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli