Review of the ‘Deadly D and Justice Jones’ series

Home » Review of the ‘Deadly D and Justice Jones’ series

Review of the ‘Deadly D and Justice Jones’ series

Co-Written by Scott Prince and Dave Hartley

Publisher: Magabala Books

Age Range: Middle/Upper Primary – Lower Secondary reluctant readers.

Themes: family; friendship; bullying; moving schools; superpowers; superheroes; NRL; Indigenous culture; Maori culture.

To add these books to your home, school or library collection click on covers or title links.

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A school deputy principal and an NRL star seem an unlikely pairing to write a novel in my mind! Then again…some of best novels for younger readers’ pair unlikely characters, so it has the potential to work! Dave Hartley is a Barunggam man, the traditional people of the Darling Downs/Chinchilla region, and a deputy principal at a school in Logan. Scott Prince, of the Kalkadoon People in Mt Isa who plays/ed a game with a ball (husband: Scott Prince is interviewed on YOUR blog? Are you SURE? Can I read it?) called NRL, for the Broncos  – they wear maroon shirts. Scott and Dave have teamed up to write the ‘Deadly D and Justice Jones’ series and I am so very glad that they did.

I read the first in this series, ‘Deadly D & Justice Jones: Making the Team’, to a group of Year Six girls and was dubious about it engaging them…but we were all laughing out loud from start to finish, were grossed out in all the right places and far from the intended ‘taste’ of the book I was to give them, we read the entire book.

Eleven-year-old Dylan has to move from Mt Isa to Brisbane and he’s not happy. But as soon as he gets to Flatwater State School he finds a former Mount Isa Miner’s footy supporter in his principal and a ‘Broncos tragic’ as a teacher. He also makes a friend in Justice Jones and an enemy in Jared Knutz. Dylan is cursed with an abnormality transforming him into a fully-grown man whenever he gets angry. Always a worry, the ‘curse’ proves to be a blessing in the city when his alter ego attracts the interest of the Broncos during a class excursion to watch the team train. Dylan becomes ‘Deadly D’ – a star player with the fire to rival even the great Prince! But how will he continue to keep the ‘curse’ a secret? 

This series is an absolute sure-bet to engage reluctant readers. The books are written first person and use much schoolyard style language and humour to keep things moving along and there is some great line drawings to entertain. There is also much to engage NRL and Rugby League fans, with names of key players mentioned and lots footy talk. The added element of anger transforming Dylan into Deadly D is excellent fun but with a serious message about managing anger. The school principal is wonderful and it’s lovely to see a principal not playing the ‘bad guy’! Family relationships are explored and are positive and affirming.

There are excellent teachers’ notes with ACARA links here. The final section of the book contains a short glossary and ‘deadly notes’ explaining some of the terms used, notes on the authors, and some information on the black&write! Project.

More about Scott Prince here.

More about Dave Hartley here.

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