Stephanie Chiocci and the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Chase, by Matt Porter

‘Good old Collingwood forever, they know how to play the game!’ my ringtone proudly sings.
Eddie McGuire is calling me. It’s the third time today. He may be president of the Collingwood Football Club, and I the captain of the women’s team, but this is getting ridiculous.
‘Hey, Ed,’I say … again.

Steph Chiocci is on a post-season break from her duties as captain and player in the AFLW league. She’s supposed to be resting, but instead she’s in England after receiving a letter from a fan. Emily’s grandmother is a cheesemaker but is under attack from a rival trying to push her out of business. Emily wants Steph to compete on her grandmother’s behalf in the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling Race. Steph is up for the challenge, but rolling a cheese is not the same as bouncing a football. Steph needs to work on her game plan. Added extras at the end include Steph Facts, Q&A and some football tips for aspiring players.

What do football players do in the off-season? Chase cheese of course! ‘Stephanie Chiocci and the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Chase’ is the first in a new series of chapter books, called Footy Stars, featuring stars of AFLW. Steph not only takes on a challenge, but also outwits a bully and saves a cheese business. There are plenty of laughs here as well as a footy tip or two. Recommended for mid-primary readers and fans of football. Extra interest if reader is a Collingwood fan!

Stephanie Chiocci and the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Chase, Matt Porter Ford St Publishing 2018 ISBN: 9781925272888
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller
www.clairesaxby.com

Crazy Relief Teachers 2: Ms Law and the Corn-fusing Case of the Broken Window by Matt Porter

‘Crazy Relief Teachers: Ms Law and the Corn-fusing Case of the Broken Window’ is instalment two in this hilarious series from Matt Porter. There are jokes and puns aplenty, as Steele and his mate Pete navigate their way through the classroom legal system.

 

The furry orb would be hurtling towards me any second.

Concentrate, Steele,’ I told myself, tapping my bat on the concrete pitch.

It was day three of the before-school test match. The only thing higher than the other’s team’s score was the temperature.

Radley paused at the top of his run-up, squeezing the tennis ball between his grubby fingers. Sweat trickled down his angry face.

Weasel patrolled the outfield. He scurried in front of the cypress trees only pausing to give his little brother a mouthful. ‘Ferret, drop another catch and I’ll drop you!’

Steele Bucket and his mate Pete are back again for a new instalment of ‘Crazy Relief Teachers’. This time there’s a mystery and a trial and their new relief teacher Ms Law is determined to get to the truth. Pete, the accused is just as keen to prove his innocence as Brittany Baxter, Prosecutor and rival for the Annual Outback Creek Corn-Fest trophy, is to prove his guilt. For the duration, their classroom becomes a courtroom. Ms Law is the judge, and after a dismal attempt to defend himself, Pete allows Steele to conduct his defence. Grade 6B are the audience, the hecklers and the witnesses. The stakes are high, the classroom will not rest until justice is done, and seen to be done.

Crazy Relief Teachers: Ms Law and the Corn-fusing Case of the Broken Window is instalment two in this hilarious series from Matt Porter. There are jokes and puns aplenty, as Steele and his mate Pete navigate their way through the classroom legal system. Their new Crazy Relief Teacher (CRT) has a legal language all her own and there are plenty of others in the classroom happy to be swept up in the drama. Steele is resourceful and relentless in his defence of his friend. Pete is focussed, perhaps even obsessed with the Corn-Fest. Other characters, like Radley, Weasel and Brittany are delightfully caricatured, and will be recognisable to most upper primary students. ‘Crazy Relief Teachers 2’ is full of fun and an (only slightly?) exaggerated reality of the classroom. But as before, the CRT is only there temporarily. What will the next CRT be like? Look out for the third instalment in Crazy Relief Teachers. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers.

Ms Law and the Corn-fusing Case of the Broken Window - Crazy Relief Teachers

Crazy Relief Teachers 2: Ms Law and the Corn-fusing Case of the Broken Window, Matt Porter
Celepene Press 2012 ISBN: 9780980699470

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

Available from good bookstores or online

Crazy Relief Teachers: Mr Sergeant and the Dodgeballs of Doom, by Matt Porter

Steele Buckle and his friend Pete are reeling. The new relief teacher is crazy! He must be. Mr Sergeant dresses in military fatigues and uses phrases from army boot camp

‘Attention!’ Mr Sergeant’s shiny black boots thudded on the lino. He marched in front of us, eyeballing every student.

‘Tuck that shirt in. Pull those socks up!’ His words shook the history projects hanging from the classroom roof.

It was nine o’clock Monday morning. If Mr Brown was teaching, our grade would have been playing Continuous Cricket. But Brownie had nicked off last term. So we weren’t playing cricket. Instead, all twenty-one of us were lined up across the back of our classroom at Outback Creek Primary School being yelled at by a madman. Mr Sergeant was the latest in a long line of Crazy Relief Teachers.

 

Steele Buckle and his friend Pete are reeling. The new relief teacher is crazy! He must be. Mr Sergeant dresses in military fatigues and uses phrases from army boot camp. Before the students know what’s going on, they are cosseting bricks and doing push-ups. It’s as if the school bullies weren’t enough and the fates have sent something/someone worse. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s approaching THAT time of year. The time of year normal Dads turn into monsters. The time of Annual Dodgeball game between Grade 6B and the Dads is approaching fast.

It’s tough to lose a teacher half way through a year. There you are at the end of primary school, looking forward to whatever comes next, and trying not to look back at all the familiar things behind you. Then your teacher leaves and you have to start all over again, when you’d thought that you’d done with starting afresh, at least for primary school. Mr Sergeant may seem to have emerged from one of Steele’s nightmares, but even nightmares can have positive elements to them. Mr Sergeant and the Dodgeballs of Doomstarts very quickly and then just speeds up, with the action exploding like a a volley of dodgeballs. This is a first book from teacher Matt Porter, but there is a suggestion here that there more may follow. Recommended for upper primary, particularly boys challenged by longer texts.

Mr Sergeant and the Dodgeballs of Doom

Mr Sergeant and the Dodgeballs of Doom, Matt Porter
Celeprene Press 2011
ISBN: 9780980699432

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

www.clairesaxby.com

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.