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Scrum by Tom Palmer and Dylan Gibson

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Scrum by Tom Palmer and Dylan Gibson

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: A good rugby story for sports fans and non fans alike.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1842999448

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Steven has a pretty good life. His parents are divorced, but they get on well. He sees his Dad every day and has a good relationship with his Mom and her partner, Martin. True, he would like his parents to get back together, as most kids would, but things aren't too bad as they are. He has good friends, a happy home and a real shot and breaking into the Rugby League teams. His whole world is turned upside though when Mom announces she is going to marry Martin. Soon Steven finds himself in a new home, with a new school and new friends, but he adjusts and makes the best of things. He even has a shot at playing Rugby at county level, but there is one problem and it is major one. The new town is in a Rugby Union area. Steven has always played Rugby League and to his father, switching sides will be a betrayal.

You don't have to have any real knowledge of Rugby to enjoy this book. Even a non-sports fan can easily grasp the rivalry between the groups, and critical aspects of the sport and the division between Rugby Union and Rugby League are very quickly and effectively explained. Although the sport does play a key role in this book, the main emphasis seems to be the way Steven deals with family relationships and change. It isn't all roses and sunshine, but I think Steven deals with the changes in his life in a very positive manner. He is an extremely likeable character who is able to put aside his own desires and needs and see things from the perspective of others as well - a very positive trait in one so young. He handles everything with grace and maturity - the only thing that remains to be seen is whether his sports-mad father will be able to do the same. This is an excellent book for children, but if there is a real moral to this story, it is for the parents. This is a book worth reading for young people and adults alike.

Scrum is illustrated in black and white. I do feel that illustrations make it easier for many children, especially boys to visualise the story, and these illustrations are a definite plus. I thought that all the adult men looked a bit alike, but the sports scenes were excellent, and of course, these are the pictures that will get the most interest from the boys. Another plus is brief message from a Kenny Logan, a Scottish Rugby Union legend who is also dyslexic and founder of the charity Dyslexia Action. I feel this message really adds value to what was already a five star book. It provides hope and encouragement for young people who are struggling with reading, and with life in general.

Scrum is part of Barrington Stoke's line of books written specifically for children with dyslexia. These books follow all of the guidelines of the British Dyslexia Association for dyslexia-friendly text. Working with a team of experts in the field, Barrington Stoke have developed their own font which is especially designed to make reading as easy as possible for children with dyslexia. They also print all of their books on a thick, off white, non-glare paper to minimise distractions which can make reading more difficult. The print is large and double spaced, with short chapters and short stories created to build confidence. The stories are commissioned by Barrington Stoke, usually from very well known authors, and are written to appeal to older children, with a high interest level but a low reading level.

Barrington Stoke also has some of the best stories we have come across for older children. These are books you just can not put down. My own child does not suffer from dyslexia, but he has commented on how much easier it is to read the books with this style of print. The double spacing and frequent breaks mean he does not lose his place in the book, and makes reading a far more enjoyable experience. These books can literally be life changing for a child who is struggling to learn to read, but they make reading easier for all young children, whether they have disabilities or not. This book is listed as a reading age of 8 and an interest age of 8 -12. I find the lower age limit fair enough, but I'd push the upper age limit up to at least 14.

If this book appeals then we can also recommend:

Ghost Stadium by Tom Palmer

Brock by Anthony McGowan

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Buy Scrum by Tom Palmer and Dylan Gibson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Scrum by Tom Palmer and Dylan Gibson at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Scrum by Tom Palmer and Dylan Gibson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Scrum by Tom Palmer and Dylan Gibson at


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