By: Kathryn Apel
Genre: 5AM - Interest age: from c 11 years
Published by: University of Queensland Press
Published: 27 May 2015
ISBN: 9780702253737


A compelling verse novel about sibling rivalry, sporting excellence and self-doubt from a fresh Australian voice.

Everyone says you couldn’t get two brothers more different than Shaun and Toby. Toby struggles at school, has a stumbly, fumbly, bumbly body and thinks that Sports Day is the worst day of the year. No matter how hard he tries, he’s not good at anything... except running away from his ‘big, better brother’.

Shaun is top of his class and does everything first, better, best! He can’t wait for Sports Day — D-Day for discus. But when his ‘joke of a brother’ is around, nobody notices the things Shaun can do. Will Toby and Shaun get on track before Sports Day?


This is a fantastic novel, mostly about sibling rivalry. It looks at the relationship of two brothers in a country town where Shaun, twelve, is good at everything, and Toby, eleven, isn’t.

But things change when Toby is taken to an Occupational Therapist who diagnoses a processing disorder. He is smart and capable, he just has trouble putting his thoughts properly onto paper, and getting his body to do what he wants, making him appear clumsy.

Toby is told to get a laptop to assist with getting things down easier and it is suggested he take up running to help his motor skills.

This is where, as a middle distance runner, he excels, breaking a 40 year old record at sports day.

He is going to the state finals to compete along with Shaun, who won both the discus and high jump.

They now see each other in a totally different light, having gained a much deeper understanding of their sibling’s life.

This is a really easy read that will be best appreciated by Year 5 & 6 students and would be ideal as a class group reader and discussion starter.

Reviewed by Rob