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By: Shirley Deuchrass

Kicking Goals

Pages: 86 Ratings: 5.0
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Jack lives on a farm in southern New Zealand. He’s the youngest of five children, is shy and doesn’t like school. When there’s time between chores, he plays rugby with his three brothers in the paddock in front of the house. One day, he has a dream which changes his life forever.

Shirley Deuchrass was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, and grew up on a farm in South Otago. She was educated in Dunedin, where she developed a love for writing. Although her first career path was nursing, she gained a BA in English at Otago University in 2003 and began writing in earnest.

Many of her poems grace the pages of Blackmail Press, PoetryNZ and Takahe magazines. A collection of poems was published in a book in 2010 titled River Calls Me Home.

Shirley’s writing history includes a self-published children’s novel called Isabella’s Diary in 2005 and several biographical titles.

She is married, with four children and seven grandchildren and currently lives in Wanaka, New Zealand.

Customer Reviews
5.0
5 reviews
5 reviews
  • Janice Cleghorn

    Kicking goals is a very inspirational story that took my on a journey and into the life of the young boy growing up On a farm . I found it an easy read and couldn't put it down until finished. I enjoyed it so much I read it to my grandchildren who also loved it. Took me down memory lane as it is very real as to the way life was in that era. . Although it was written as a children's book I believe it is one that will be enjoyed at any age.

  • Andrea Hutchins

    Kicking Goals creates a beautiful multi-layered purview for the reader. We see the inner world of pre-teen Jack McCulloch with honesty - his need for physicality, the outdoors, and his constant hunger. Yet underneath this simple picture is a more complex world of insecurity and misunderstanding, perhaps most importantly from his teachers. Only when Jack finds his "thing"; his passion and purpose, do we see him start to believe in himself. Through rugby, Jack dreams big and works hard to achieve his goals.
    The book is written for pre-teens, although children of all ages will enjoy this view into a different time. It is a world where even hot water from a tap is a marvel, and one where nothing is achieved without hard work and patience, in stark contrast to our fast-paced modern world of instant gratification.

  • Anne Howarth

    A thoroughly enjoyable book based on the day to day activities in the life of an adolescent boy in the 1930s, who eventually went on to become a New Zealand All Black. Several themes are covered – farm life, love and respect of animals, community support, bullying and boys’ outdoor fun in rural New Zealand. Of interest to adults and children alike, a lovely story based on young boy’s passion for rugby and his self-realisation.

  • Paddy Richardson

    Aimed at the ten to the twelve-year-old reader, Kicking Goals, is the kind of books kids will love. Set in Owaka, a rural area of the South Island New Zealand, it tells the story of Jack McCulloch, a young boy who would rather be out running with the dogs on the farm, chasing sheep-anything rather than to be spending his days in a classroom. With the best will in the world, Jack seems to get himself in all sorts of trouble-he 'accidentally'kills a chicken and the quick and severe punishment that follows turns into humor as the chicken-not dead after all- struggles back to life.
    Jack's story, though, has its serious side. When he finds kittens and longs to keep them he learns a hard lesson of life on a farm. This is 1930's rural New Zealand. Life is not easy. His father says he must choose only one kitten; animals on a farm are there for work. He experiences bullying at the local school and he's frustrated by his slowness to learn.
    The story, though, shows how Jack gains confidence. His father gives him boxing lessons which also come with lessons on how he must handle himself. The lessons aren't so he can fight others but to give him self-respect. Self-defense is all about discipline and control.
    In between school and the farm chores that are expected of him, Jack plays rugby. He's good at it and he loves it. Being asked to play for a junior boy's rugby team comes as an epiphany for Jack where he realizes he's made a real success of something.
    Rural New Zealand setting and the time give extra interest to the story since children may compare the differences in their own lives with Jack's. Written in diary form, Jack's story will especially resonate with boys who would rather be playing freely than in the classroom. It touches on the kinds of common difficulties kids frequently face such as problems with learning and with bullying at school. The joy, though, is that Jack finds his confidence and self respect through finding what he's good at and working hard at it and this makes the story universal and inspiring.

  • Max Peter Good (aged 10)

    Kicking Goals by Shirley Deuchrass

    The story begins with Jack (the main character) who is a farm boy working with his brothers and his father and mother. He is always doing chores at home.

    His father runs boxing lessons in the family barn and Jack watches him.

    He starts playing rugby with his family and he starts wanting to play rugby after school.

    Jack hates school and is bullied by someone who considers himself to be stronger than Jack.

    Jack dreams of being an all black because he found playing rugby was one of the things he was good at and really enjoyed.

    Jack had always felt alone because he was laughed at school and was shy. When he played rugby he felt exhilarated and liked playing rugby with his friends.

    What I liked about this book how Jack went from being an ordinary kid to being an All Black.

    He worked on and followed his dream.

    I felt that I had always been given the main chores and I could relate to Jack’s feelings.

    Max Good (aged 10)







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