The Friendly Games by Kaye Baillie & Fiona Burrows (Midnight Sun Publishing)

When the Olympics is on, wherever it is, there is a buzz in our house, from the Opening Ceremony onward. We watch the whole games, picking out our favourite events, cheering for the athletes and revel at the beauty of the opening and closing ceremonies.

End papers – the medals

So, it was delightful when we won this book in a giveaway on Instagram which describes the events that changed the history of the games in 1956 all because of a courageous caring boy named John Ian Wing

I call him courageous not only because young John had an idea to improve the format of the Closing Ceremony, but he acted on that idea. Writing his idea down, he delivered the letter to the Organising Committee anonymously. And the Closing Ceremony, which till then was a subdued affair, was changed forever

This bright picture book is based on this wonderful true story and will impress young minds in not only the power of a idea but help them find the boldness to share their thoughts as well.

The reader’s heart will beam with the satisfaction that no one is insignificant and no idea too small to make a difference to something as big as the Olympic games. And that is a pretty big message.


Kaye Baillie’s narration weaves a picture of who John was, starting from when he was a baby. We follow him through the changes in his life in Melbourne, Australia. Fiona Burrows illustrations are stunning. The beauty of Melbourne city stands out in black and white sketches while people and events are highlighted in colour. 

This is a lovely picture book presenting a little nugget of history – the inspiring story of John Ian Wing. 

Suggested read aloud age 5+. Recommended for a confident reader.

Published by Midnightsun Publishing, 2020

If you would like this book for your bookshelf, check out your local bookshops, because bookshops are amazing places and should be supported to keep them open! However, the convenience of clicking from your comfy sofa is sometimes a necessity. In that case, Booktopia it! 


  1. Kaye Baillie

    Thank you for your lovely review! I’m so glad you enjoyed our book.

    1. Sandhya Rose

      You’re welcome Kaye. It’s a wonderful book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *