Tennis is the third challenge in The Legend Series. Will Mitchell Grady add the tennis trophy to his list of achievements? He has competition in Bryce Flavel, brainy but with a small body. Can Bryce prove that size doesn’t matter? Then there’s Mitchell’s best friend, Jack. All are working hard to win against incorrigible bully Travis Fisk.
Travis gets away with everything because his father, the local butcher, sponsors all the school sports with his barbeques. This puts father and son above the law in a significant way. It adds sharp corners to the happenings as the why, seeps through the story.
Michael Panckridge cleverly sets up the background of the terrific and believable characters during the family games. We learn about their family relationships and perhaps why Travis is the bully he is.
This sports based series is fast- paced, with short crisp chapters full of action and interest. It is aimed at both genders.
Powerful underlying themes that flow through the story include sportsmanship, and the importance of sustaining friendships, sometimes at a cost. Integral to the story, is the pressure parents assert on their children to perform, and how detrimental this influence is to the child’s character. This is beautifully portrayed by brief dialogue between father and son that allows the reader to feel compassion towards Travis for his spiteful and sneaky behaviour.
Legends is a well-constructed and interesting series. There is extensive supportive information at the beginning and end, which enables readers to get involved and stay absorbed. It includes a lot of tennis facts and a quiz. I love books where I can learn something I didn’t know before, especially when the facts are included in a simply but meaningful storyline.
Title: Down the Line
Author: Michael Panckridge
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing, $14.95
Publication Date: March 2017
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Fiction