July 26, 2020

Long-Lost-Secret-Diary of World’s-Worst Olympic Athlete: Review

By browzly

Long-Lost-Secret-Diary of World’s-Worst Olympic Athlete, written by Tim Collins is reviewed here by Bhavna Mishra, Founder at Browzly. Browzly is a reading for pleasure focused learning and teaching app.

Long-Lost-Secret-Diary of World's-Worst Olympic Athlete releases on 1st Sep 2020 but is available now to order on Amazon
4-Star Rating

Informative & fast paced story set in Ancient Greece

Long-Lost-Secret-Diary of World’s Worst Olympic Athlete, is a recommended book for Ancient Greek History lessons in KS2 classrooms. Set in 380 BC, this is a story of Alexander- a boy who longs to become a true hero. Alexander travels to Olympia to work as a special assistant to Dracon, an elite Olympic athlete from Athens. The big muscular athletes at Olympia, hold Alexander in their awe and make him wonder how his prophesied moment of greatness would ever arrive? Will the ‘world’s worst athlete’ rise up to become a hero?

The story is speckled with technical vocabulary from ancient Greek history & the Olympics. The technical terms & the traditions of the ancient Olympics, are explained at the end of every chapter in the ‘Get Real’ section as well as in the glossary at the end of the book. Teachers will likely enjoy exploring the topics of body confidence, playing fair & comparing and contrasting ancient and modern Olympics.

Long-Lost-Secret-Diary of World’s-Worst Olympic Athlete does a great job of creating an engaging story for a topic that may usually be written about in the non-fiction genre. Isobel Lundie’s illustrations help readers visualize the characters better. They also bring to life how some modern day events were different at the time (see the Long Jump event image above). The book will make a great read in KS2 classrooms (age 8 to 11) although readers might find a few scenes a bit violent. Violence is not graphic but features bloody fights.

The reason the book does not get five stars from me:

  1. Given the setting, I felt, there were opportunities for better use of imagery and descriptive language to make readers’ hearts race. In my opinion, this would have vastly improved the emotional connect to the story and the characters.
  2. The author mentions slaves, slavery & animal sacrifice for pleasing the gods in many places in the text. A ‘Get Real’ section to put these topics in context should have been there.
  3. At the start of the book, the narrator addresses his parents as mom and dad while trying to paint a setting in 380 BC, this seems misplaced. Using actual terms from this period would have helped me get into the period setting more readily

The above review is now also available on the Browzly app. This book has a Lexile rating of 900L, whenever readers for this text’s age range (8 to 12 years) are assessed to be reading this level of text with a medium to easy challenge level (viz. 800-950L range), Browzly will automatically recommend this book to them. A self-marking multimedia quiz will also automatically pop up when the readers will mark this book as read on Browzly. The book releases on 1st Sep 2020 and is available now for pre-orders. This reviews is done from an electronic preview copy shared by publishers through NetGalley

This blog is written by Bhavna Mishra, founder of Browzly, a reading for pleasure focussed teaching and learning edtech. Browzly securely connects school communities-teachers, parents and students, to share what they read- create text and video reviews. Students get age and Lexile levelled reading recommendations. Members can take book and topic quizzes created by teachers or curated from Browzly. Readers can also list and swap books in their personal home collections with members in their school and gain points for the quizzes they take. Teachers can create or curate self-marking multimedia quizzes for their students, parents and peers on Browzly. Download the free app from Apple App store or Google Play or login on the website https://browzly.com