Banjo is a hoofball star. He loves hoofball so much, he can barely sleep before a game. He practises every afternoon with his friend Bella, and on Saturdays he plays with his team the Whinnies.
But one day, Banjo flies too high. He takes a tumble – and is laid up for six weeks. The worst possible scenario for a hoofball star.
During his recuperation, Banjo becomes bored. He eats too much molasses, and when he finally returns to the hoofball field, his sedentary, molasses-slurping days are on show. He gets puffed easily. His uniform is a tad too small. When he accidentally falls on the ball . . . it, er – pops.
Poor Banjo. He’s so depressed over his larger-than-life state, he becomes despondent and refuses to join in the game. It’s not until his best friend Bella gets sick and has to go to horspital, that Banjo realises exactly what must be done.
Funny and gorgeously illustrated, Banjo Bounces Back is a book with a very gentle moralistic punch. Hume’s delightful (and very equine) word play is loads of fun; his dry humour equally so. Banjo is a character many children will instantly relate to and warm to, and the spirit-of-the-team and being-there-for-each-other themes (not to mention keeping physically active) don’t present at a gallop, but rather a gentle trot.
My only small criticism would be the ending – due to the clever and humorous nature of the book proper, I had expected a similar ending, and although the ending is certainly pleasant, I just feel it could have been something ‘more’. Nevertheless, Lachie Hume, son of author/illustrator Alison Lester, certainly has book writing and illustrating in his blood.
Banjo Bounces Back is published by Omnibus.