Friday 12 December 2014

Glenn Maxwell Lucky Break

Glenn Maxwell Lucky Break by Patrick Loughlin (Random House Australia)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 978-0-85798-607-8
Reviewed by: Jaquelyn Muller

It’s time to slap on the zinc and get a shine on the new ball as the covers come off for another big summer of cricket. Random House has timed its new sports fiction series rather nicely with the Cricket World Cup headed for Australia next year and a huge program of tests, T20 matches and One Day Internationals starting. They have partnered with one of Australia’s best T20 players Glenn Maxwell; to create a cricket fiction series for boys (and cricket mad girls) aged between seven and twelve! 

The books are written by high school English teacher and writer, Patrick Loughlin who also authored the Billy Slater Rugby League series of books. In the first book of the series Lucky Break, Loughlin propels readers straight into the thick of the action by introducing the central character, Will Albright as he faces a tense second innings captain’s knock in an inter-club cricket grand final. If you have no idea what that means then you probably won’t understand the rest of the book but it is why the target audience will love this series. There is more cricket terminology and iconography than you can poke a stump at and for any cricket loving tween it’s what will keep the pages turning.

We travel along with Will as he rides waves of self-doubt, navigates tricky relationships and is pushed to his limits in his quest to be picked for the Victorian T20 Youth Academy. Will must drive his abilities to the edge to get noticed by the selecting coaches including his hero, Glenn Maxwell. In parallel to the story there are opportunities to enjoy the sports action with a commentary similar to that of a cricket telecast. The story moves quickly and the tone emits a school yard vernacular which gives plenty of opportunity for laughs along the way.

For any sports loving younger reader there is much for them to identify with in the scenarios presented from the overnight cricket camp setting to team rivalries, and Glenn Maxwell’s cricket tips and glossary at the end of the book make this informative as well as entertaining.

The second book in the series, Academy All-Stars is being released simultaneously on December 1st and will no doubt be a welcome distraction during any rain affected play delays over the summer.

Jaquelyn Muller is an author and publisher of children’s picture books. Jaquelyn is an author champion for the Let’s Read early childhood literacy program. She conducts literacy and publishing workshops for children from kinder to upper primary.  Jaquelyn was opening bat for her girls’ high school cricket team and is now bringing up two cricket mad daughters of her own.


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