Whatever is that madcap Grandma McGarvey up to now? LOOK OUT LADS! Quite by chance, she finds herself on the field at a country rugby match! But she copes with the situation in her usual style, winning everyone's admiration for her drive and fortitude - even at the bottom of a ruck!
This book is a reissue of the original edition, first published in 2007. Illustrations are by Trevor Pye.
Reading has always been a passion for me, I love how some stories can transport you to another world. From a young age I have read to my children, and I am pleased to say that they also have a love for literature. I believe that the gift of reading is so valuable especially for young children, I would much prefer to spend time cuddled up with a story rather than plopped down in front of a screen. When I saw that KIWIreviews had some new stories available to review on their site I became quite excited. I had a browse and to my delight there was a familiar face on the cover of one of them - Grandma McGarvey! I remember reading the stories about Grandma McGarvey when I was growing up and I loved them, I put my request in and hoped I would be successfully chosen.
It was a lovely surprise to see a copy in my review box, I knew instantly who would love to sit down and read it with me - my 5 year old son who has a keen interest in rugby. The cover page shows Grandma McGarvey clutching a rugby ball and she appears to be running with some players chasing her, and on the back cover we see Grandma McGarvey at the bottom of a scrum, my son said to me "isn't she too old to play, what is she doing?" I said we would have to read the story to find out.
The first thing that captured our attention were the illustrations by Trevor Pye, the book was packed with vibrant colours and captivating scenes. My son and I love a good book with flowing rhymes, and this book fell neatly into this category. From the very beginning my son was mesmerized by the story-line, he initially thought that because the car broke down that maybe Grandma McGarvey would miss the rugby game. This story had both my son and I in fits of giggles throughout, especially the bit with the dog and the touch judge hehehe. The story I believe teaches not to judge a book by its cover, just because Grandma is older doesn't mean she can't play rugby, and do the haka. This also showed that teamwork and helping others is an awesome thing to do.
I loved this book and so did my son, this has become our latest bedtime story, and I have been to the local library to find some more of the books in the series. It is easy to see how Grandma McGarvey has been popular for 30 years, I hope that there will be another book in the not too distant future!
My daughter and Miss Seven both pounced on this book as soon as they saw it. Miss Seven and her brother both play soccer so they were keen to check out the story, while my daughter often teaches a group of Year 3 children who are avid footballers. She said she could borrow it to read to the class if she had a copy - but only after Miss Seven had reviewed it, of course. That was totally fine; the reading level was just right for the children, and of course the story would be very relevant. Although rugby and soccer are different games, there are enough similarities to make them of interest.
Since Miss Seven knew her mother planned to borrow it after she had read and reviewed it with me, she lined up all her dolls and teddies so they could be her "test class" and proceeded to read it out loud to them. Halfway through she said she was worried that her favourite was too small to see the pictures, so she installed him on her knee. I was sitting beside her, smiling at the way she kept stopping to show them all the illustrations (including me!). She was totally in role as a teacher, even stopping once or twice to tell a little doll to stop talking and listen.
We loved the way that Grandma McGarvey gets stuck in and has fun too. Children love it when adults get involved in their play, especially when it is competitive, and even if the involvement is completely accidental! Grandma is drawn into the match before she can move aside, but once she has the ball nothing can stop her - she is off at top speed, determined not to let her "attackers" get it back. Even her dog joins in, racing alongside in encouragement until she scores an unplanned try. He disappears only when the triumphant haka begins!
Miss Seven liked the way the story is written in rhyming couplets. As she read it aloud to her audience, she emphasised the last word in each line as if she expected them all to join in. Perhaps she did! And she loved the detail in Trevor Pye's colourful illustrations. I watched her picking out Grandma McGarvey in some of the very busy scenes in case she had got lost under all the footballers, and looking relieved when she was spotted uninjured. The dog could only just be seen in a couple of the tackle and scrum pictures, so she had to turn the page to make sure he was still all right. Miss Seven could not stop laughing when the dog actually peed on the goal post at the end of the match!
This is such a fun book. I am sure that the children in my daughter's class will love it just as much as Miss Seven did, and there will be lots of giggles all round. Perhaps it will even cause some of them to look at their grandmas in a new light!
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)