Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! – Review

Cover Image for Great Goal! Marvellous Mark!

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! by Katrina Germein and Janine Dawson

This book was Notable for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Awards – Book of the Year: Early Childhood.

Get ready for a great game of footy. There’s plenty of action and masses of mud. Who will kick the first goal? Who will take the best mark? And will the yellow team win? A zippy, colourful, wet and muddy children’s weekend footy game that relates to all budding AFL champions & their families.


So, I come from a family of football fans. And I like sport. I recently discovered the enjoyment of watching tennis live. But I have to say I don’t keep up with AFL anymore. But, I love country football matches, and watching kids’ games, and this book is lovely for reminding me of my enjoyment of that feeling.


I love phonics – it’s a way of teaching children to read and write by assigning sounds (phonemes) to specific letters or groups of letters. The earliest level of phonics is the sounds we associate with letters: balls are bouncing b b b. And that is what is tapped into in this book. Each letter gets it own alliteration (repetition of the initial sound) filled pages with a football theme.

Phonics are really important because when we read, write, and spell we are only concerned with the sounds that are made when we see the letter ‘a’ or the blend ‘sh’ or the combination ‘eigh’. We don’t use the letter names like the ones we learn when we sing the ABC song when we are reading, writing, or spelling.

Anyone who has come to one of my Storytime sessions knows, we often look at the topic of the week – Football, talk about the capital letter, lower case letter, and the sound it makes. Then we try and think of other words that start with that same sound. As children get older they will learn that in different situations the same sounds can be made by other letters (ph) or that the F letter can make other sounds but developmentally we need to start with the common and straightforward sounds.

And that starts with books like this one.

On the E page, each word starting with ‘e’ has a blue letter at the beginning. On the M page, the letter is red. This has two benefits for children – it highlights this letter but in doing so it is providing our brains with an additional piece of information and this helps our brains to build synapses more quickly. Much like when we walk to the left and say left, or when we touch the wet grass and say wet; our brains are taking in the information but it looks different to the other letters – it stands out.

Apart from the phonics, this book is lovely. There are lots of girls and boys playing football in the sun and the rain and the mud. We meet lots of the kids on the different pages and hopefully most children who play sport will see themselves somewhere on the page.

I would encourage anyone with a love of phonics or football to borrow or reserve it today.