On Track (VN)

FINAL On Track Cover Small

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?

RRP $16.95

‘A sensitive and gently humorous portrayal of dealing with difference. The family relationships, and the complicated tangle of sibling rivalry and love, all ring with truth.’ Wendy Orr, author of Nim’s Island

On Track is published by UQP.


Download Teacher Notes
Visit Publisher’s Website
Pinterest – On Track
Educators, check out the On Track Kids’ Stuff for a sporty poetry prompt – complete with mentor texts.


(Click on the links to read the full review.)

Selected for New Zealand Listener’s Top 50 Children’s Books for 2015.

  • Lamont Books: “This is a fantastic novel, mostly about sibling rivalry. 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.”
  • Alphabet Soup (by 11yo Joseph) “Eleven and twelve-year-olds will like this book, especially athletic readers and fans of verse novels.”
  • Oz Books 4 Teachers (Tanya Gretch Welden) “A highly immersive and fast paced verse novel that is guaranteed to have middle-school students cheering as they turn each page.”
  • TJ Withers: “Kat Apel has put herself inside a kid’s head to express how it feels to know you’re different … and finding help to achieve your potential. The emotional tone is spot-on, and so, so moving.”
  • Sydney Morning Herald: “Though she deals with sensitive topics about body image and capabilities, Kathryn Apel’s verse narrative is lively and punchy and will appeal to reluctant readers.”
  • Squiggle Books – with Cath’s tips for teachers: “The two voices represented in the poems (Toby and Shaun) provide a wonderful opportunity to discuss perspective in texts.”
  • ReadPlus by Rhyllis Bignell (Highly recommended): “This is an emotionally powerful narrative, great for a class novel.”
  • The Book Curator:
  • Kids’ Book Review (Anastasia Gonis): “This is an excellent and well-written verse novel. The minimal words are powerful and expressive. Their message is strong and immediate.”
  • Tristan Bancks hosts bookseller Ella Sharpe (The Younger Sun): “This is a fast-paced story that every Australian kid can relate to on some level. Whether or not you like poetry this book will capture your heart and imagination, leaving you with two new friends, Shaun and Toby.”
  • Boomerang Blog (Dimity Powell): “Each word reverberates with emotion, yielding characters of tremendous depth whose flaws are presented as poetically as their triumphs.”
  • Children’s Books Daily (Megan Daley): “Only a skilled writer can craft so few words into free verse poems which, when sequenced, form a narrative which is engaging, heartwarming and inspiring all at once. On Track ticks all the right boxes for me in terms of a class novel study.”
  • New Zealand Listener (50 Best Books for Children – 2015): “A second verse story by talented Queenslander Kathryn Apel (Bully on the Bus), which finely balances both brothers’ points of view.”
  • Aussie Reviews: “A wonderful verse novel about sibling rivalry, self identity and self confidence. Told through the dual first person narratives, the story allows readers to see both brothers’ struggles and motivations, allowing empathy for both. Readers will care about the boys and what happens to them. The inclusion of sport in the plot will add interest for many readers.”
  • Younger Sun: “This book will ring true for anyone who has ever participated in an Australian sports carnival. The poetry is so well crafted and the story is heart breaking, heart warming and accessible to anyone, whether or not they like sports.”
  • Goodreads: “Loved this book! Very clever, very readable. I was quite impressed at how expressive the writing was. Well worth five stars!”

-Users-KatApel-Desktop-Screenshots 2015-05-26 at 7.00.18 am

UQP Media Release.                                        Click to see fullsize image.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Book review: On Track | Alphabet Soup

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