Author: Kathryn Apel
Publisher: UQ Press
Comments: On Track is the second verse novel by my friend and author Kat Apel. (A verse novel is comprised of poems which are read sequentially to form the narrative story. Yes, the entire novel is written in poems!) What began as a manuscript of only a few hundred words grew to a novel of almost 17,000 carefully, thoughtfully and skilfully placed words.
Toby and Shaun are two very different brothers. Each misunderstands the other, while seeking to be understood himself. Each is trying to find his place in the family, in the classroom, on the sporting field, and ultimately in life. Each has his own story to tell, and his own voice to tell it with…
As with Kat Apel’s previous verse novel, On Track features subtle shape poetry. For details of shapes and the pages they appear on, see the comprehensive Teacher Notes provided by UQ Press. I highly recommend downloading them. Within the poems the author also plays with acrostics (TOBYBOT) and a range of poetic devices. Great for teaching a range of outcomes relating to poetry. On Track is also a useful text for exploring themes of courage and resilience, as well as discussing the way different people need different types of help and support to achieve their best. (In the story both the coach and an occupational therapist help Toby to understand and work with his own body.) A very useful novel for studying in the middle years of primary school.
Teacher Tip: The two voices represented in the poems (Toby and Shaun) provide a wonderful opportunity to discuss perspective in texts. For example, a Year 3 Australian Curriculum outcome under the Literacy strand is: Identify the point of view in a text and suggest alternative points of view (ACELY1675).
*I received a review copy of On Track courtesy of UQ Press. No payment was received for review and all comments are based on my own professional opinion.
Want to read more about verse novels by Kathryn Apel? Try this review of Bully on the Bus back at the old site, SquiggleMum.