Friday 22 March 2013

Shot, Boom, Score

Shot, Boom, Score by Justin Brown (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 978-1-74331-368-8
Reviewed by Ann Harth ( )

Toby Gilligan-Flanagan wants a GameBox V3. His dad agrees to buy him one but there’s a catch: Toby has to score 20 wickets and 10 tries by the end of the season.

For many of Toby’s friends this may have seemed like an obstacle, but for Toby? No problem. He is a star bowler and feels he was born to kick a ball. Toby has sport in his blood. The new GameBox V3 is his!

But then the new kid arrives. Malcolm McGarvey has legs that look like they were stolen from a gorilla. He lives with his uncle and is allowed to stay up all night. He was attacked by a shark and has a squiggly scar on his neck to prove it. McGarvey is also good at sport but he doesn’t care much about winning; he only wants to stop Toby from scoring.

I was caught up in Toby’s world so completely that I ripped through Shot, Boom, Score at a blistering speed. Toby is very real. His decisions are not always the best, but they seem like a good idea at the time. I thoroughly enjoyed Toby’s journey as he learns to deal with McGarvey and strives to earn his GameBox V3. This is a great book for children aged 8-12. They will love Toby and his friends and even learn to appreciate McGarvey, much like Toby does.

Shot, Boom, Score is written in Toby’s viewpoint in the form of a ‘logbook’. It’s not a diary. Diaries smell like strawberries and have wimpy little locks. Toby’s struggles to gain his points, battle with McGarvey and stay out of trouble are recorded in this book, the kind of logbook a sea captain would use.

Justin Brown has written 25 books for adults and children. One of his most incredible experiences was, after writing about Toby for two years, he accidentally met him on a street in New Zealand.  The boy’s mannerisms and looks seemed vaguely familiar until it finally clicked. This was Toby Gilligan-Flanagan. Oddly enough, the boy’s name was Toby. For more on this story and to get to know Justin Brown a little better, please visit his website:

Ann Harth is a published children's author, freelance editor and ghostwriter and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, is now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

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