You Can Do It Joey, written by Kerry Malone and illustrated by Meaghan Thomson, is the story of Joey, a little kangaroo, who wants to be just like his big cousins who can jump fences with ease. If he’s going to jump like them, he’ll need a lot of determination and plenty of practice. Luckily, Joey has a Mum who is there to encourage him every step (or hop!) of the way.
Meaghan Thomson’s illustrations show Joey and his family in gentle water colours. Her style is very much her own, but reminds me of Anita Jeram’s nutbrown hares in Guess How Much I Love You. The scene where Joey looks up at his Mum from inside her pouch makes my heart melt.
Canberra author, Kerry Malone, has written a story perfect for children who want to try something new, but feel they are too small, or too scared to do it and for those who need a reminder that someone will always be there to help them along. If Joey can do it so can they!
You Can Do It Joey is available in select bookshops in Canberra and Melbourne or from Kerry’s website. There are also some beautiful pictures of Joey to print and colour in. Kerry and Joey also appear regularly at the Old Bus Depot Markets in Canberra. If you are in the nation’s capital, see Kerry’s website for their next appearance!
Post Book Activity
In You Can Do It Joey, Joey sets himself the goal of jumping a fence for the first time. He needs a lot of practice and perseverance, so we decided to talk about some goals of our own. As it turned out, we have all recently had to prepare for performances of one kind or another:
Goal: Learn a ten minute story for adults for an ACT Storyteller’s Guild Event
Challenges: Unlike the stories I learn for children, stories for grown-ups tend to be longer and with less repetition. I also find performing for adults to be far scarier than performing for kids!
Success: I’ve been practising in the car, in the shower and as I fall asleep at night. With two weeks to go, I’m on track to have my story ready.
Goal: Perform in a band concert in front of 700 people.
Challenges: This was the first public performance for the band. All the students go to different schools and they only practice together once a week. Miss 11 played her band pieces on the trombone at home. She practised on her own, and with her Dad.
Success: The band sounded great, Miss 11 had a great time and “can we please go home now Mum, I have a big headache.”
Goal: Give a speech at school.
Challenges: The speech had to be presented in the school hall without a microphone and everyone from grades 3-6 would be there and some proud parents. Mr 9 practised his speech in the backyard, with the sound of traffic, to make sure he would be loud enough.
Success: Mr 9 did a great job with his speech, everyone could hear him and he had a great time too. “I think I did alright. Did I do alright?”
Goal: Play a song on the piano to his class at school
Challenges: He wouldn’t have his piano teacher, or Mum and Dad there to cheer him on with his class. He picked a new song to play, but played it over and over again at home.
Success: Mr 7 played the song to his class and “people gave me some compliments, but I can’t remember what they were.”
What did our challenges have in common? Like Joey in the story, we found that practising over and over again helped us to feel confident and helped us to get better at our goals. We’re going to try our best to remember this experience for next time we face a hurdle and think everything is too tricky, and remember that we can do it!
What goals and challenges would you like to set for yourself? Is someone in your house learning to tie their shoes or tell the time?
You Can Do It Joey was written by Kerry Malone and illustrated by Meaghan Thomson.