Michael Panckridge (text), James Fosdike (illus.) Switch-Hit Showdown (Big Bash League #1), Random House Australia, 31 Oct 2016, 156pp., $14.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9780143782193
Michael Panchridge (text), James fosdike (illus.), Captains’ Clash (Big Bash League #2), Random House Australia, 164pp., $14.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9780143782216
Cricket is not my thing but these books are Fabulous – yes, with a capital ‘F’! Incorporating both Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) and the men’s BBL, these stories draw you in with the passion of the characters (both male and female), the effort to overcome adversity and the suspense of the final match.
The characters are engaging and realistic. They converse with a contemporary tone and turn of phrase but without resorting to tacky abbreviated shorthand. They unabashedly care about what matters to them, they say what they think, stand up for what they believe in and yet also have the worries and cares of normal kids.
Michael Panckridge has a clear understanding and love of the game of cricket and BBL in particular. Any reader who shares this passion will appreciate the accuracy of the game details. Rules, strategies, positions and playing techniques are all described in a way that is accessible to a non-cricketer but also technically correct.
These two books (as part of a larger series) follow a similar format – introduce and develop the characters, outline the place of BBL at the school the kids attend, get the kids practising and planning for a big match / competition. Of course a seemingly insurmountable issue arises and they must adapt plans and work together to make the game happen. As for the result of the match – well, you’ll have to read and see.
These are wonderfully vibrant and energetic stories that could easily reflect real situations and real kids. They move at a fair pace and are a good, smooth read without simplifying the language unnecessarily. Readers roughly 8 – 14 would enjoy this well-written series and any teacher/librarian would be happy to have these in their collection as examples of engaging contemporary writing. I was pleasantly surprised.
Reviewed by Katie Bingham
- Read Jane O’Connell’s review of these 2 titles
- Read Stephanie Ward’s and Katy Gerner’s reviews of #3 & #4 in the Big Bash League series