James Roy (text), Lucinda Gifford (illus.), Saves the Day (Chook Doolan #3), Walker Books Australia, 1 August 2016, 63pp., $7.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781922244956
James Roy (text), Lucinda Gifford (illus.), The Tiny Guitar (Chook Doolan #4), Walker Books Australia, 1 August 2016, 63pp., $7.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781922244963
Simon ‘Chook’ Doolan is back for more adventures in the popular series from award-winning author James Roy.
Readers of the earlier books will remember Simon earned the nickname Chook for being, well, a bit of a chicken. In Saves the Day, Chook has to learn to face his fears on the soccer pitch. He is scared of the ball and frightened of being hurt by the boys on the opposing team. Chook’s best friend Joe and older brother Ricky offer coaching tips and soon enough, Chook has to put his new-found skills to the test. With two boys charging towards him, Chook is the last line of defence. Will he be brave enough to stop the goal and save the day?
In The Tiny Guitar, Chook befriends a local busker by the name of Eddie Two-hats who sings and plays his ukulele to earn money for food. When Eddie suddenly takes ill, Chook decides to step in and busk on Eddie’s corner, minding the spot until he returns. First though, Chook needs to learn how to play the ukulele and overcome his nerves performing in public.
Chook Doolan is a likeable boy and primary school age children will easily relate to his worries and challenges. The stories are presented in short chapters with well-spaced, easy to read text and simple language. The scenarios are realistic and tackle everyday topics connected to school, friends and family. The series is beautifully illustrated by Lucinda Gifford with fun black and white sketches bringing the text to life.
Reading level: Early readers aged 5+
Reviewed by Jane O’Connell