Review Blog

Dec 02 2013

Nellie Melba by Allan Drummond

cover image

Aussie Notables series. Green Barrow Publishing, 2013. ISBN 9781876460471.
(Age: 10+) Dame Nellie Melba's success transcended the confines of the world of opera. Like Dame Joan Sutherland, her name was known to most Australians regardless of their musical tastes because they recognised that despite her international fame, she always identified with her country of birth.
Allan Drummond has used a tongue-in-cheek style to tell the story of how Helen Mitchell became the phenomenon Nellie Melba. This is a demanding subject for young readers, many of whom may not be aware of opera as a performing art, and few of whom will have seen a live performance. The author has overcome this by beginning with a reference to the Sydney Opera House, a familiar landmark, and then broadening his scope to the great opera houses of the world in which Melba sang. The influence of the singer's parents, details of her childhood, her difficult personal life as an adult and remarkable career are all explained, as are the plots of some of the operas in which she appeared. Chatty asides, references to modern popular culture and cartoons scattered throughout the text, may appeal to those readers who also enjoy the Horrible Histories. The use of cultural stereotypes as a source of humour might now be regarded as dated. The final chapter about Melba's death and legacy are written with sensitivity and skill.
Nellie Melba is a title in the Aussie Notables series, which provides brief biographies of the high achievers depicted on our currency. Allan Drummond's decision to tell their stories will help younger children to understand the gifts and determination of Australians whose contribution is so 'notable' that their faces have been chosen to become part of our daily lives.
Elizabeth Bor

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals 2018
National Book Award winners 2017
Speech Pathology Book of the Year Awards 2017
YABBA Awards 2017
Teens' top 10
2017 Man Booker Prize
Australian Family Therapists' Award for Children's Literature 2017 winners
2017 Children's Peace Literature Award Short List
Inkys Awards 2017
2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award
2017 NSW Premier's History Awards
The Queensland Literary Awards 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2017
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Bookmark and poster templates