On the Buzzer, by Michael Panckridge

We started the game against Wetherhood with our best five. The Hoods players were tall, lean and mean. They managed to hassle us without drawing too many fouls. That was until Totem charged poor Rat fair and square with a massive full-frontal attack that sent Rat skidding across the floor on his backside and into the back wall.

The Legends competition at Sandhurst School is always pretty fierce, but the basket ball contest is promising to be the fiercest yet. Not only is school bully Travis Fisk out to make sure he wins, but the school’s rivals, Wetherhood, are doing everything they can to upset it too. It seems to Mitch and his mates that even their own coach, Mrs Cartwright, doesn’t want Sandhurst to win.

This is the sixth of eight titles in The Legends series. Each title focuses on one sporting contest in this sport-focussed school. The best participant in each sport is named Legend of that particular sport, and there is an ongoing battle to be overall Legend at the end of the year.

In this instalment, there are more twists and turns in the mystery of the library tunnel and some surprising developments in the interpersonal relationships between the various characters.

Another sound read.

On the Buzzer, by Michael Panckridge
Black Dog, 2003

Over the Wall, by Michael Panckridge

His run-in was awkward. He was all over the place. When he did kick the ball, it was off the toe of his boot and came in low and hard. All the time, I sensed that his left hip was slightly forward, so I lunged to my right. I fended the ball down with my arms, centimetres from my face. It bounced back to Travis, who belted it back at me in anger. This time the ball found the net.

It is soccer season and time for the fifth legends competition in Sandhurst School’s year – the Legend of Soccer. Travis Fisk is boasting that he has this competition sewn up – but Mitchell has other ideas. He doesn’t want the bully to win.

This is the fifth title in The Legends series, with each title focussing on a different sport, and the Sandhurst students’ race to be the best at it. As with the previous titles there is plenty of sporting action, further developments in the rivalry between Mitchell and Travis, and an unexpected development in the mystery of the library.

Each book is self-contained, though readers will benefit from having read the previous titles. Great for sports-mad kids.

Over the Wall, by Michael Panckridge
Black Dog Books, 2003

The Grief Book, by Elizabeth Vercoe with Kerry Abramowski

Grief is like manure:
if you spread it out it fertilises.
If you leave it in a big pile,
it smells like hell.
(Thomas Golden)

Everybody, the introduction to this books reminds us, experiences grief. It is a necessary part of life and, as such, can’t be avoided. But not all of us know how to deal with that grief, and this is very important. So, in this wonderful offering, author Elizabeth Vercoe and consultant Kerry Abramowski, offer a bag of strategies for dealing with grief. From simple things to recognising that you are grieving, to more momentous things like attending a funeral, the book is full of practical, honest suggestions for moving through grief.

The book is aimed specifically at young people, but will speak to those of any age experiencing any kind of grief – adjusting to illness, coping with the death of a loved one, dealing with a divorce, the list is endless. The text is accessible and realistic, coming from people who know about grief: Vercoe is a survivor of Hodgkin’s Disease and Abramowski has worked with young cancer patients. This experience generates an understanding and gentle tone.

The Grief Book is an outstanding offering for young people, parents and anyone experiencing grief or working with adolescents.

The grief Book: Strategies for Young People, by Elizabeth Vercoe with Kerry Abramwoski
Black Dog Books, 2004