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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

A-Z with the ABs by Justin Laing

Young rugby lovers can now learn the alphabet with the help of the All Blacks.

A-Z with the ABs teaches everyone the ABCs of All Blacks rugby - using the game, the players and all things All Blacks.

Author Justin Laing is a loyal All Blacks supporter, and spent 23 seasons playing the sport himself. Using his love of rugby as the basis of the book, he tells the alphabet in this book, which is officially licensed by the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby Union.

While the idea is great, the execution feels a little bit off. This is a book that won't age well. The players featured are all current players, both in the story and in the illustrations. This makes it feel like a book only 'hard core' current fans will enjoy, and the timing of the book to coincide with the World Cup makes this obvious.

It also didn't sit right that the book was so... All Blacks. While it is licensed to it, it felt like a real missed opportunity to add some diversity and acknowledgement of rugby in New Zealand as a whole. There are very, very few women depicted. This made the book far less appealing to my young daughters, who also adore rugby, than say the likes of Rugby 1, 2, 3, Whutupōro Tahi Rua Toru. The later remains a bedtime favourite in our house simply because they can see themselves, and the rest of their family and friends, in the book.

With space at the back of the book for autographs, this is a book for All Blacks lovers. A worthy souvenir for the World Cup and current crop of All Blacks, but sadly not a book to see you through the ages.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Bateman Books, RRP $19.99


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