Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Books for Kids Who Love Sport

Sport-themed fiction, reviewed by Susan Stephenson,

Children who live for sport might think they have no time for reading. But introduce them to a book set in the world of their favourite sport, or starring active and competitive kids like themselves, and their eyes will light up! Below are books for young dancers, cricketers, footballers, swimmers, handballers and for kids everywhere who like to read exciting, funny stories with stacks of action.

Israel Folau 4: Standing Tall

Israel Folau 4: Standing Tall is a chapter book by David Harding with Izzy Folau, published by Random House Australia (2015). RRP: $Au 14.99.

Israel Folau wasn’t much of a reader as a child, but that might have been different if more books like Standing Tall were available to him. In this fourth book of the series, Folau stars again as the coach of a team of Junior Rugby playing kids. This time the team has made it to the State Championships. The book includes training tips from Folau, but concentrates on all the highs and lows, excitement and worries young fellows feel when they are engrossed in winning their game of choice.

From the publisher:

Daniel and Sione have landed in Sydney for the State Championships. This is the biggest stage they have ever played on and the boys are full of nervous excitement. Valley will meet their toughest opponents yet and have the weight of family expectations on their shoulders. Can the team remember all they have learnt on their training trip around the country?

With Izzy's help, Daniel and Sione will have to dig deep and play like never before to make it to the final and win!

Both sets of books are written by Patrick Loughlin and published by Random House Australia, 2015. RRP: $Au 19.99.

Kids will understand the reverence and awe young T20 youth players feel for Australian cricket legend, Glenn Maxwell, who appears in the book to give the players some cricketing tips. There are lots of details to make readers feel they are present and caught up in the action. I like that Random House has packaged two books into one, making the price more affordable. Both are a cricket fan’s must-read!

From the publisher:

Lucky Break
Will Albright is a batting whiz and captain of his local cricket team. But when he is nominated to attend a T20 training camp, Will soon discovers that standing out in a sea of young talent isn't easy. Especially when Darren ‘Killer' McKinnon's bouncers are coming his way! Luckily his idol, Glenn Maxwell, is on hand to provide some much needed advice.

Academy All-Stars
Once again, Will Albright is in an unfamiliar situation and his cricket skills are being put to the test. To make things even more challenging, Will must compete with his best mate, Shavil, for the highly sought-after opening batsman spot. Can Glenn Maxwell help Will adjust his game before he loses his friend and his head?

State Showdown
The T20 National Youth Shield is about to begin and Will can't believe that he is living his dream of playing on the hallowed MCG grounds. But if Will can't focus long enough to get his form together, his dream might soon turn into a nightmare! Can some tips from Glenn Maxwell help Will overcome his sudden crisis of confidence?

World Domination
Will and his Australian teammates are travelling to England, the home of cricket, to take on the best of the best in the T20 Youth World Cup. With mounting interstate rivalry tearing the Aussie team apart, Will and his fellow players are going to need to dig deep to keep the nation's hopes alive. Can Glenn Maxwell show Will how to lead his team to victory?

Super Sports Stories for Kids

Super Sports Stories for Kids was also written by Patrick Loughlin and published by Random House Australia (2015).

Decent sized font and a range of different sport-themed stories make this book ideal for kids who might be put off by a chapter book with one plot. Tight, active writing with lots of believable dialogue and situational humour add to its value.

From the publisher:

12 legendary sports stories for kids!

Meet a champion swimmer who loses his swimmers in the pool. Experience the most amazing handball rally of your life. Go for a ride on a wave with a hungry shark. Run an exciting race against Maggie the swooping magpie, and discover the curse of the dreaded wooden spoon.

Silver Shoes 8: Studio Showdown

Studio Showdown is the eighth book in the Silver Shoes series by Samantha-Ellen Bound, published by Random House Australia (2016).

Is Dancing a sport? Yes, and it’s also an art form. Regardless of categories, young dancers can be just as obsessed with the dancing world as other sporty types. They’ll relish this book about kids who attend a dance studio called Silver Shoes. The fact that Studio Showdown is also part of a series will come as great news to young dancers who like to read about characters they feel comfortable with. The icing on the cake is that Bound obviously knows the world of dance and how to write a believable and entertaining story.

From the publisher:

Paige is known for doing every style of dance. But can she choreograph as well?

It's time for the end-of-year concert at Silver Shoes. Everyone is super excited and the studios are buzzing. Miss Caroline assigns Paige and Ellie a junior class and challenges them to put together a dance for the concert. Paige is thrilled to be choreographing with her best friend and can't wait to use some of the new jive moves she has been learning. But it soon becomes obvious that Paige and Ellie have completely different ideas about what they want to do! Will they learn how to work together in time for the final performance?

Both books are part of The Kaboom Kid series, with illustrations by Jules Faber, and published by Simon and Schuster (2015). RRP: $Au 14.99 ea. The Kaboom Kid 5 was written by David Warner with J.V. McGee; The Kaboom Kid 6 was written by David Warner with J.S. Black.

David Warner is a sporting hero to many kids, and they’ll relish reading about the exploits of young Davey Warner, cricket-mad and learning how to cope with all that life throws at him. They’ll laugh along with Davey when his dog Max saves his skin by eating everyone’s homework, resent the ever-so-perfect Josh Jarrett (who turns out not to be so bad after all) and cheer with the crowd as Davey saves the day against the Whackers.

Faber’s illustrations are few, not too many to make kids feel the book doesn’t have the status of a novel. But the covers in particular hint at disasters and fun to come! Do look out for this series too - your kids will thank you!

From the publisher:

The Big Time
Happy days! Davey Warner, Sunil Deep and Tay Tui have been selected to play for the local rep team, the South-East Slammers. It’s a dream come true, even if Josh Jarrett, AKA Mr Perfect, is captain. 

Training is twice a week, no excuses. Davey, Sunil and Tay would go every day if they could – the only problem is that it clashes with cheeky Max’s doggy school.

How can Davey keep his promise to his mum to train Max and play for the South-East Slammers? And how can his other friends help out so Davey can live his dream?

But why is Mo Clouter looking so pleased with himself? And will Max ever behave himself?

Home and Away
Road trip! Davey and the South-East Slammers travel to the country for a match against the dreaded North-West Whackers. 

Not only is cranky Mr Mudge coming along, school bully Mo Clouter and his band of buffoons have joined the cheerleading team. What are they up to?

Soon it’s time to play – but where is their captain, Josh Jarrett, AKA Mr Perfect? And what on earth does Mo have planned?

Will the team ever pull together against the might and skill of the North-West Whackers?

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