The Anniversary Legends Series, Books 1-7, by Michael Panckridge

“So what’s in store for us this year, Travis?” asked Bryce.
“Well, it’s about toughness. Being strong. Having guts. Determination. It’s going to be right out of your league, Flavel. And yours too,” he said, looking at Rat. I was waiting for his predictions for me and Bubba.

Last year’s Legends competition was close – with Mitchell Grady winning narrowly over school bully Travis Fisk. But this year things are going to be even tougher. It’s the seventieth year of the Legends competition, and with different sports and special golden trophies at stake, the competition is really going to be fierce. Mitchell wants desperately to win back to back championships, but Travis is determined that it is his turn to win. And with his Dad on his side, changing the rules at every step, it might just be achievable.

The Anniversary Legends series follows on from where The Legends left off, with Mitchell and his friends and foes back for another year at Sandhurst School. Whilst the formula for the books is similar, there is enough difference here to prevent the series becoming repetitive. A new character, Karla, is introduced and two of the books are narrated by Luci, giving a girls’ perspective. There are also some new sports – with Rugby and a Wilderness skills contest, as well as Netball each being the subject of a Legends contest, and snow sports and skateboarding both featuring alongside other sports.

Whilst an adult reader may be a little frustrated at the apparent lack of caring or awareness of injustices and even cheating, child readers seem to overlook and even accept it – making this reviewer wonder if it as unrealistic as she first thought.

This is an excellent series for sports-mad 9 to 12 year olds, and is likely to be an assets in engaging reluctant readers.

Race at the Rock, Offside Upfront, Goal Attack and Pack Down, all 2004
Out of Bounds, In the Zone and Go the Distance, all 2005

By Michael Panckridge, published by Black Dog Books