Review Blog

Jun 18 2015

On track by Kathryn Apel

cover image

University of Queensland Press, 2015. ISBN 9780702253737
(Age: 9-12) Highly recommended. Family Life. Brothers. Sports. Disability. Achievement. Resilience. Another exciting verse novel from Kathryn Apel, this time she focuses on sibling rivalry, sports and overcoming a physical condition with determination and discipline.
Toby has a body that stumbles, he's uncoordinated and finds sports challenging. His older brother Shaun is better at everything, sports and his school work. Mum's decision to seek a diagnosis for Toby's condition makes a huge difference. With Lisa the occupational therapist's guidance, he begins a new way of coping with school and home life. Coach Lawrie, Shaun's athletics trainer teaches him techniques to fire up his sensory system and program his muscle memory. Mum, Dad and Toby keep Shaun out of the loop and he is left feeling jealous of Toby's new laptop - a tool for school not a toy and the time Coach Lawrie takes to train his brother. When Toby is chosen to attend Athletics Camp as well as Shaun, tensions rise, each brother has a different journey. The School Sports Day events test both brothers and is an exciting and insightful time in their family's life.
The author's use of alliteration, line placement, metaphors, figurative language and imagery, and the alternate voices, are powerful tools that add insight into the dynamics of family life, sibling rivalry, determination and empowerment. This is an emotionally powerful narrative, great for a class novel.
Dad often says I'm a stone bull in a glass shop, but Mum tells him I'm a gazelle on track now.
Kathryn Apel's blog and the UQP website provide additional information and teachers' notes.
Highly recommended for 9-12 year olds.
Rhyllis Bignell

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Book Week 2017 ideas - Escape to Everywhere
Speech Pathology shortlist 2017
2017 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals
2017 Branford Boase Award
2017 UKLA Book Awards
Little Rebels Children's Book Award 2017
10th UK Waterstones Children's Laureate
UK Children's Book Award 2017
Laugh Out Loud Awards 2017 shortlist
2017 Locus Awards Winners
Environment Award for Children's Literature shortlist
Miles Franklin longlist 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Bookmark and poster templates