Posted in Children's Reference Books

Book Review: 2016-17 Big Bash Book

the-big-bash-book-2016-17
2016-17 Big Bash Book

By Daniel Lane (Allen and Unwin)
HB RRP $29.99     ISBN 9781760291419

Reviewed by Daniela Andrews

This highly visual sporting reference guide to the upcoming sixth season of the KFC Big Bash League (BBL) should appeal to T20 cricket fans of all ages. It is the second BBL guide in the series – award-winning sports journalist, Daniel Lane, also wrote one for the fifth season.

Lane covered the tournament for Fairfax Media last year and his wealth of knowledge (and passion for the BBL) definitely shines through in this guide. There is a lot to absorb!

It is presented in a full-colour, glossy, magazine-style layout with a great balance between photographs and text. It opens with an introduction to the BBL, including an article on the farewell to Mike Hussey, and a piece by Adam Gilchrist on the popularity of last season’s BBL.

There are informative, double-page spreads on the eight BBL and WBBL (Women’s Big Bash League) teams. Each section includes statistics, a fifth-season performance summary, a sixth-season prediction and the team’s game draw.

Interviews with eight selected players reveal, amongst other things, their personal mottos (such as ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’). There’s also a section showcasing 32 notable players (‘Big Performers’). The book concludes with entertaining ‘Gobsmacking Moments’ from the fifth season. (Yes, the #WatermelonBoy phenomenon is in it!)

A glossary of cricket terms and abbreviations has been included in the back of the book, along with the T20 rules. The inside front and back cover are marked ‘Autographs’, encouraging readers to take the guide along to the games. (The design might make it a little tricky to find information quickly, during a game. It would be great to have an index of players in next season’s edition, perhaps!)

The guide will make a worthy companion in the lead-up to, and during, the sixth-season of the BBL (20th December, 2016 – 28th January, 2017).

The information is separated into habitats, with a selection of 16 animals per spread. The list of habitats is quite extensive and impressive: Deserts, Mangroves, Mallee and Acacia Scrublands, Waterways, Forests and Woodlands, Seashore, Rainforests, Heathlands, Tropical Wetlands, Alpine and Urban. Each habitat is introduced with 1–2 paragraphs describing its unique features, climate conditions and importance to the ecosystem. Each is accompanied with a small map of Australia, colour-coded to show the locations of that habitat.

Each section of the book comprises four pages. The first double page spread (which opens with the habitat information) includes a large look-and-find illustration. The margins feature small pictures of 16 animals that are hiding in the main picture. Each of these animals is described in further detail on the double page spread that follows. The font is on the small size, as a result, but the writing is great – Cronin has focused on lesser known facts about each animal and perfectly summarised these with an entertaining caption beneath each species name. For example, the caption for the spotted cuscus is ‘smelly chest’, and the paragraph beneath explains how smelly oil from the male’s chest is rubbed onto tree branches to mark out a territory.

The illustrations by botanical artist, Marion Westmacott, are in full-colour and look extremely realistic – some almost photographic in quality! The endpapers feature a lovely trail of animals, first wandering into the book and later wandering out. The pages of the book are glossy and white throughout, which really helps lift the illustrations off the paper and bring the detail to life.

The book will appeal to kids who love Australian wildlife, particularly those aged between 6 and 12. It would be a great addition to the classroom shelf, especially beside existing collaborations by the same author and illustrator.

This review was originally published on the Buzz Words website:  http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/2016/12/201617-big-bash-book.html

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Literary ramblings, children's book reviews and spectacular evidence of how a writer procrastinates: https://connectthewords.wordpress.com/

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