Nice Garry: Bowled over by Nathan Lyon and Michael Wagner

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The Keenan boys are tricksters who like a joke. But they also like cricket. 10 year old Garry Keenan tags along to his older brother Jamie’s cricket practice. Jamie is trying to make the team for the Under 16s team, even though he normally plays for the Under 14s.  Practice in the nets is challenging and Garry is making life difficult for his older brother with his ‘motor-mouth’ commentary and so is directed to help out by bowling a few balls at the batters who are practising in the next net. Within a short space of time, and with only a little bit of direction, the coaches discover that he is a very talented spinner. When Garry is unexpectedly selected for the Under 16 team it makes life difficult for Jamie who has missed out. The first game for Garry is both an amazing experience and a disaster as well. Success is never guaranteed in sport, all that is required is trying hard.

This is a simple, sport-based story with inspiration from Garry Lyons’ life and early journey in cricket. It has funny moments, family moments and also frenzied times when we feel the nerves of the young Garry as he must challenge himself above the expectations of his years. For readers learning to play cricket this is a great story that will also give them tips and hints. Garry’s team includes players of different genders and cultural backgrounds, so many readers will be able to connect to the story. I am not a passionate cricket viewer, but I was interested in a story that detailed early years cricket contests. This is a book to recommend for cricket fans, aged 8-11 years.

Themes: Cricket – Spin bowling, Sibling rivalry, Family.

Carolyn Hull