Review Blog

Nov 19 2013

The Grace stories: 4 books in one by Sofie Laguna

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Our Australian girl series. Penguin, 2013. ISBN 9780670077540.
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Australian history. Convicts. Following the great success of the Our Australian girl series, in which four books were published about the life of a girl in a specific time in Australia's history, Penguin has now released the first of the four books in one smart, hard back volume, complete with a safety catch.
The story of Grace, a young girl forced to live as a mudlark in the edges of the Thames River in London, becomes one of the convict lasses sent to Australia in 1808 when she steals an apple to give to a starving horse in the streets. The first of the four stories follows her life aboard the convict ship, then we see her become friendly with another girl, arriving in Sydney Town to be sent as a servant to a household in the Blue Mountains, where she befriends the wife of the farmer. Her adventure parallels those of many young girls sent to live and work in Australia as convicts, and readers will gain an insight to the privations of their lives in the early years of this colony. The series is supported by an extensive website which offers the readers and teachers a range of activities.
These books serve as a neat introduction to Australia's early history and the publication of the books in a single volume will be most attractive to the girls for whom these books speak volumes.
Grace is a level headed, hard working young girl, who takes the opportunities offered her, despite the initial mistrust of the farmer. But it is her determination that wins him over in the end securing a place for herself within a family.
Fran Knight

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