A Footy Tail
A & U Children’s, 2023
32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
A fluffle of Bunnies play at the park.
They sprint and they tackle from dawn until dark,
They always train hard, but it’s never enough . . .
the other teams are just bigger and stronger. It’s tough!
Dispirited and disheartened, the bunnies fear the opposition who have sharp teeth, loud barks, can fly high and even breathe fire. But then along comes Crow with wise advice, encouragement and the vision and means to introduce some new players – a croc called Alex, a goanna called Cody and a kangaroo named Trell…
Inspired by the South Sydney Rabbitohs, written by NRL star Alex Johnston and illustrated by celebrated First Nations artist Gregg Dreise, this rhyming picture book about an underdog team of bunnies who are up against the stronger teams of animals is a wonderful story of unity, togetherness, resilience and teamwork.
This is a picture book for any young Rugby League fan, not just Rabbitohs supporters, particularly those whose own teams need a boost if they haven’t reached the heights they have dreamed of. While they may not have a Russell Crowe to swoop in and rescue them, nevertheless there is a strong message of the importance of practice and self-belief so they approach each game with a can-do attitude. Importantly though, it also offers opportunities to discuss not just the feelings of winning and losing, but also how to win and lose. Our elite sports people are role models of behaviour both on and off the field for so many of our young students so they can learn so much about accepting defeat (something parents often try to protect them from) and being generous in success (is win-at-all-costs the best mantra) by watching our their heroes behave. How did the bunnies think and feel before and after each game when they were losing all the time and how did that change when the other creatures joined them? What is the meaning of the saying “There is no I in TEAM?” What is Alex Johnstone trying to teach them by writing this story? How can they take what they have learned from it and share that with their teammates?