Tuesday 17 October 2023

Last-Place Lin

Last-Place Lin by Wai Chim and Freda Chiu (Allen & Unwin) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN: 9781761067754

Reviewed by Kellie Nissen

Lin is super excited about her Sports Day at school. There are sack races, obstacle courses, wheelbarrow races and tug of war. Lin’s in the red house and wants to win – but race after race, she doesn’t.

In fact, Lin comes last. Every time.

Then, one of her teammates starts calling her ‘Last-Place Lin’. It’s all too much. Lin feels like she’s let down her team and vows that she’s ‘done’ with Sports Day.

Then, the fun run is announced. What’s more, it’s also announced that everyone must participate! Will Lin come last again?

Author of Last-Place Lin, Wai Chim, was a contestant on Australian SurvivorBrains v Brawn, and she understands, first-hand, what it’s like to always come last. She also understands the overwhelming pride when you persevere to finish a challenge – even if you come in last. All this raw emotion rings true in her words.

As someone who was not adept at sports, especially anything that involved running or coordination, I found myself right there alongside Lin as she lost race after race. I knew the pain and the embarrassment. I only wish Wai Chim had written this book much, much earlier and that I’d been able to read it as a child because then, maybe I could have drawn on some of Lin’s resilience.

Frida Chiu’s illustrations are full of powerful emotion – from excitement to despair to jubilation – as she follows Lin’s efforts on Sports Day. She has perfectly captured the atmosphere of the day, the movement, and the tension, through her cute and quirky illustrative style.

Last-Place Lin is ideal for readers aged 4–6 (and older) who are just starting their journeys into the competitive world of school sports days and physical education.

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