Ishmael and the hoops of steel by Michael Gerard Bauer
Omnibus Books, 2011. ISBN 978 1 86291 917 4.
This is the third and final Ishmael story that takes place during Ishmael's final years of schooling. Once again his friends Ignatius, James Scobie, Bill and Razza are all back for their senior schooling at St Daniel's College. The book is divided into Year 11 and Year 12 - semester one and semester two. With each semester containing around 16 short chapters. This enables the story to clearly develop and build over the course of a very typical final two years of school. In year eleven there are the usual uniform violations, assembly detentions and assignment deadlines. The trio continue their debating - although not very successfully. They are all in the same English class and have varying experiences with the study of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Bill makes a profound confession. The boys experience the highs and lows of school formals. As year twelve begins the boys make a pact to make the most of their last year. They aim to be Senior Debating Champions and win the College Cup for Charlton House and Miss Tarango. With these goals in mind they utilise their own talents and skills leaving no stone unturned to achieve their goals and in doing so complete their schooling as well rounded young men.
Ishmael and his friends are characters that are easy to relate to and found in any school. Michael has made them appealing to the reader by making them real and identifiable. The ability to triumph over adversity is a valuable message in this story and one that leaves the reader thinking long after they finish reading.