Review Blog

May 01 2017

Down the line by Michael Panckridge

cover image

Legends series. Ford Street Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925272635
(Age: Middle and upper primary) Recommended. This is the third story in the Legends series, with each book concentrating on a different sport. The eight sports narratives feature surfing, cricket, tennis, football, soccer, basketball, athletics and swimming. Down the Line focuses on tennis.
The stories concentrate on the same characters and we follow them as they compete in each sport to try to win 'The Legend' school trophy. Mitchell Grey has been successful in the first legend trials but now he must compete against his own friends as well as Travis Fisk, an unlikeable bully. The stories follow both boy and girl competitors and there are lots of descriptions of the games, scoreboard results, statistics, maps and quizzes. All the scores and results of the tennis competition and the overall competition are given at the end of the novel.
Michael Panckridge uses his stories to highlight friendship, fair play and bullying.
This book would appeal to students who play or are interested in sport. They would enjoy reading the scores and trying the quizzes. It is advertised as a series for reluctant readers aged 8 to 14 years, with 'current, kid-friendly vocabulary and language'. I showed this book to a very sports focussed year 6 girl and she said she was strongly interested in reading the novel. The books have been reissued in more modern jackets and the Down the Line cover appeals to both girls and boys as there is a photograph of both. Michael provides teacher's notes and black line masters.
Jane Moore

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