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

The Final Lap, by Michael Panckridge

settled into some backstroke myself, working at a friendly pace. I liked swimming laps. With my goggles on and in the blue world of the water, I could enter another dimension and forget the worries of the day. And today, for me, that was a good thing.

It’s time for the final sport in the Sandhurst School’s annual sporting Legends series. Mitchell Grady is well-placed to win the overall series, after his rival, school bully Travis Fisk, was disqualified from the last event. But Travis and his father have some surprises up their sleeves. And they aren’t Mitchell’s only problems.

This is the eighth and final instalment in The Legends series , a series sure to be a hit with readers in upper primary years, especially sport mad boys. This instalment brings the ongoing story to a satisfying conclusion.

The Final Lap, by Michael Panckridge
Black Dog, 2003

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