Clash of the keepers by Mitchell Starc and Tiffany Malins
Ill. by Philip Bunting. Mighty Mitch book 3. Scholastic,
2018, ISBN 9781742769158
(Age: 8-10) Themes: Cricket. Sportsmanship. Australian international cricketer Mitchell Starc continues his popular Mighty Mitch series in Clash of the keepers. Suffering a loss to Marshall Spark is quite a blow to young Mitchell; he is shocked to lose the cricket-keeping contest. Mitchell determines to turn the tables around. The story begins with the Wander Hill Wombats on the way to a special coaching clinic, with his dad driving and annoying Oli singing over fifty-eight verses of the same song. At the name-tag table Mitchell accidentally takes Marshall Spark's tag, and this meeting comes back to make problems for Mitch all day. Marshall becomes his arch-enemy and a fierce competitor.
When Marshall arrives on Saturday to join Mitch's team, things go from bad to worse, when Mitchell's normal wicketkeeping position and his gold gloves are taken over by Marshall. There's plenty of action, drama and some great cricketing tips provided. Young Mitchell's decision to make Marshall looks stupid makes problems for the rest of the team. Backfiring pranks played by both boys add to the fun of the story.
Mitchell Starc's own memories of his early days, his encouragement of young players, lots of statistics and encouragement of sportsmanship are relatable elements in this junior novel.
This is a popular genre now, across many Australian sports and the books are proving popular with sporting fans. Philip Bunting's very simple cartoons show the team's cricketing skills and the results of the different pranks. Clash of the keepers is one for fans from 8-10 years.