Aussie Legends Alphabet
ABC Books, 2017
56pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
A is for Adam Goodes . An Aussie Rules superstar who fought hard for his footy team and even harder for his people.
B is for Bob Hawke. A lovable larrikin who helped make Australia fair dinkum.
And so it continues throughout the alphabet with a well-known person personifying each letter, introducing young readers to some of Australia’s more colourful characters and perhaps inspiring them to find out more about those who interest them.
However, while the concept is interesting, I was confused about the target audience – IMO definitely not for three year olds as suggested by the publisher because little ones of that age are more interested in E for Easter Bunny and S for Santa Claus. But do those who are ready to learn about those who made Australia require an alphabet book with text suitable for the very young and pictures that have been contrived to echo the letter they represent? Even though there is an expanded thumbnail sketch of each person on the final three pages, the content, format and intended audience did not gel for me.
Similarly, there is confusion with the alphabetical order because the format is not consistent… while most entries draw on the first letter of the personality’s first name some resort to the first letter of the surname while “D” refers to Dame Edna Everage, X is for INXS and Z is for “Shazza, Wazza, Kezza and the rest”.
However, those issues aside, this could serve as a model for those who are investigating significant people who have shaped this country to build their own Aussie Legends Alphabet as a shared project. Not only would this give them purpose and practise with note-taking, extrapolating and summarising but it would also be an interesting insight into those whom they think are important as they justify their choices. Challenging them to provide evidence is an important skill as they learn to build an argument that can be defended in a discussion.