Toppling / John and Dom
illustrations by Rhian Nest James
from Walker Books Australia...John is obsessed with dominoes. But not with playing the traditional game, he is obsessed with toppling. He spends hours setting up spirals, ramps, patterns and lines of dominoes all for that satisfying toppling beginning with a small push in the right direction, everything falls as it is meant to. When John’s friend Dom falls sick and is diagnosed with cancer, it is John and his friends’ worlds that fall apart. Can they face Dom and support him through this uncomfortable illness? It’s hard for all at first but John and his friends find a way to comfort Dom and laugh with him again. They even find support and understanding from an unlikely source within their class, the school bully.
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Toppling is a novel written in verse about friendship, school life and dominoes! It is a gentle tale for middle primary and above readers. It tells the story of John and his friends. John’s favourite hobby is dominoes and he loves to set up his 1000s of dominoes in elaborate paths and then topple them. Life seems to be going well for John and his friends, Dominic, Joseph, Christian and Tran and even at school their teacher Miss Timms gives them a special treat – a project on a subject of their choice. However, things take a turn for the worse when Joseph becomes sick and is diagnosed with cancer.
This is a moving story told with great sensitivity and hope. Despite the difficult subject matter there are moments of humour and the delightful illustrations from Rhian Nest James add to the story. The characters are strong and the descriptions powerful. A great read fro readers aged 8 and above.
Stephen, Canberra, Australia