Rugby Academy: Deadlocked by Tom Palmer

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Rugby Academy: Deadlocked by Tom Palmer

Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The last in this brilliant, dyslexia-friendly series delivers a great story with a realistic ending, and subtle messages about playing sport honourably, taking responsibility and understanding others. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 72 Date: June 2015
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781123997

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It's the third story in the Rugby Academy series and so far we've heard from Woody in Combat Zone and Rory in Surface to Air. In this, the final book in this brilliant series, we hear from Owen. We left the team at the end of Surface to Air when Borderlands had got through to the World Championship in New Zealand. Despite the elation of doing so Owen isn't entirely comfortable with Jesse, the team captain. He has no doubts that he was a brilliant player - the best on the team - but he can't respect him as a person.

I'd better own up to something straight away: I don't know a great deal about rugby, but that hasn't spoiled my enjoyment of this series. There's quite a bit about the game in the books, but nothing too technical. Any rugby fan is going to love it as all the drama of the sport steams up from the page, but even if you know nothing about playing the game you'll still be caught up in the excitement. It's about playing the game with honesty, stepping up and taking responsibility when a leader is needed and understanding the pressures which others are under even when they don't all apply to you. That might all sound very worthy, but don't worry - no one reading the book is going to feel that they've been reading a sermon. Towards the end I was on the edge of my seat and I thought that the ending was realistic - and satisfying.

There's a genius start to the book. You see, Owen isn't actually that keen on reading and he doesn't find it that easy. A lot of the kids reading this book will be in the same boat as Deadlocked is from Barrington Stoke, so it's dyslexia friendly. The reading age is eight, but the interest age is nine plus, so it's going to encourage kids who are just a bit slow of picking up the reading habit or who are struggling with the technique. You'll find details of the reading age and interest age just to the right of the barcode on the back of the book - it's not obvious unless you know what you're looking for and kids not going to be embarrassed by it. The dyslexia-friendly sticker peels off easily and the cover design looks just like the trendy books the other kids are reading.

So, what makes the book dyslexia friendly? Well, firstly Barrington Stoke have designed a special font where each character is distinct and pulls the reader on to read the next word. It's printed on an off-white paper, which reduces the glare which can distract some readers and the paper is substantial enough to ensure that there's no bleed through from the reverse of the page. The spacing between words and lines has been carefully judged to give the best reading experience and the text has not been justified as this can mean that readers get lost on the page. The book has clearly defined chapters to give natural rest breaks and it's not just the reader which benefits from that - many parents and carers feel the same way. It's not only people with dyslexia which benefit from these ingenious changes - most young readers will find the books easier to read and more enjoyable. I'm just about into my dotage and recently I've been suffering from eye problems - and Barrington Stoke books are the ones which I can read most easily.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

You could read this book as a stand alone, but you'd be best starting with Combat Zone. Football fans will enjoy Ghost Stadium also by Tom Palmer. Slightly older boys will love Tom Palmer's Over The Line.

Buy Rugby Academy: Deadlocked by Tom Palmer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rugby Academy: Deadlocked by Tom Palmer at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Rugby Academy: Deadlocked by Tom Palmer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rugby Academy: Deadlocked by Tom Palmer at Amazon.com.


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