Review Blog

Apr 07 2014

Billy Slater presents: Try Time by Patrick Loughlin

cover image

Ill. by Nahum Ziersch. Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780857982469.
(Age: 9-11) In the world of Rugby League Billy Slater is a star. The Melbourne Storm player who has played over 250 games is in the best place to act as mentor to junior players, the role he plays in this new series obviously aimed at 9-11 year old rugby enthusiasts.
Josh Brown is about to begin playing his first season of league for the West Hill Ravens Under 11 side, having spent all summer convincing his mother to let him play. His footy mad grandfather accompanies him to his first match as mum is busy with the baby and Dad is away working. Josh's biggest problem is a severe case of nerves, and an overly enthusiastic and vocal grandfather who only wants to help. When he drops a crucial pass he feels that losing the game was his fault.
Things go from bad to worse when granddad is involved in a fight and is evicted from the sidelines. Josh's nerves on the field continue to grow until the butterflies are elephant sized causing him to drop the ball. The negative comments of his teammate Corey do not help and Josh decides to give up footy altogether.
Billy Slater, Josh's all time footy hero, is recruited by the coach to act as team mentor. He spends time at training giving Josh extra passing practice and advice on how to overcome his nerves during a game and enjoy the sport.
The forward at the beginning of the book by Billy Slater herald the themes of the story, being involved, persisting when things go wrong and enjoying the game. Scoring and winning isn't everything. The player profiles familiarise the reader with Josh's teammates and Billy's tips on Tackling and Catching a Pass, support the advice given in the story.
Rugby enthusiasts will enjoy the game details and tips, though the general advice can apply to any team game, but all students will understand the pressure and disappointment Josh feels when his dream start to footy is not realised and things do not work out quite as he planned them.
Sue Keane

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