Get Out and Play … GAA!

Get Out and Play … GAA! is the story of a nine-year-old boy, Oscar Rafferty, who is addicted to playing games on his tablet computer. One day his Granddad Mick appears, and after rather forced wordplay on the word ‘tablet’, Granddad Mick wants to take him to a local GAA match – much to Oscar’s dismay. However, he eventually goes, and en route Granddad Mick gives some background on what Gaelic Games are. This rather didactic explanation continues when they are at the football match, with some amusing interjections from the referee and players.

This book may appeal to parents who wish to engage their children in discussions about the GAA and physical activity. However, it is confusing whichage range it is aimed at; Oscar’s age and some of the jokes and vocabulary suggest the older child, 8-10 bracket, but the illustrations and the simple storyline suit a younger age.
There is a somewhat worthy air to it all, with an emphasis on nationalism (‘culture’ apparently means ‘all the things that make us different from other countries’). Topics such as the ban on ‘foreign games’ and the Gaelic Revival seem out of place in a book aimed at children, which barely describes the rules of the games. There is an incongruous emotional twist towards the end, which jars considerably. The book is prettily presented, with a nice map with county colours, but overall does not really convey the excitement of Gaelic Games.