Tuesday 20 December 2016

Big Bash League

 Big Bash League by Michael Panckridge (Random House Australia) PB RRP $14.99
Switch-Hit Showdown ISBN 9780143782230
Double Delivery ISBN 9780143782193
Captains’ Clash ISBN 9780143782216
Bowling Blitz ISBN 9780143782254

What is Big Bash League you might wonder? Chances are that you are not a huge fan of cricket, for BBL has many followers (see http://www.bigbash.com.au) Australian author Panckridge who has already produced some child-friendly sporting books, has his finger on the pulse with a new series of novels suitable for readers 8 to 12 years which tells stories of cricket-loving kids. In the first, Double Delivery, both boys are featured in games that take place in a Queensland oval with cricket-mad twins Millie and Maggie wanting to join in. But of course there’s reluctance with a ‘boys-only’ mentality. Meanwhile, in the caravan park where the twins are staying, things are disappearing, so this book based on cricket games, also serves as a mystery tale.

Switch-Hit Showdown is set in Melbourne with a Renegades fan, Barney, meeting his match in a game against a team, headed by Fifi, which blitzes his. Before the grand final, however, it seems a spy mission is in order.

In Bowling Blitz, talented fast-bowler, Jimmy and his sister Izzy, having just moved from Perth to Adelaide, are huge BBL fans. But Jimmy’s not so fussed about being an Adelaide Strikers supporter. As in the other Big Bash League titles, there is more than just cricket happening: Jimmy has a problem with a kid and his dad from a neighbouring cricket club who are trying to poach him.

The last of these four titles, Captains’ Clash, is set in Sydney, where Fletcher, Jana and their mates are counting down to a full T20 match --their greatest cricket game ever. But brother and sister and their mates first need to settle a score with another team.With decent-sized typeface, chapter headings and illustrations, these stories are easy-to-read and fast-paced, and offer good reading especially to reluctant readers, both boys and girls. For cricket fans the publisher has included notes at the back of each book which offer all-round tips (such as getting fit, good techniques and practice) and bowling tips (grip, run-up (follow-through and so on). There is also in each of the books, depending where the story is set, there are statistics about local clubs: the Perth Scorcher fans, for instance, can read about results, records, team players, strike rates and more.

It’s great to see books – and a sport – which includes both males and females participating. The series ought to do well this summer!

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