Review Blog

May 16 2014

Daisy all alone by Michelle Hamer

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Our Australian Girl series, Book 2. Penguin Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780143307648.
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. The Our Australian Girl series and characters have been extremely popular with girls 8 and up who are looking for an exciting and adventurous read. The concept was originally Jane Godwin's when she was dismayed that girls in the 8-12 age bracket lacked worthy books that would engage them without the 'tween' fluff so common in most of their reading. In 2014 two new characters have been introduced - Daisy and Pearlie. Each series is set in a different period of Australian history and Daisy is the 1930s' girl - and not one of the fortunate ones.
Separated from her dad, and then extended family, Daisy finds herself homeless and alone in a grimy and dangerous Melbourne far removed from her original country home. Despite the efforts of her two friends to find her some temporary shelter, Daisy is snatched off to the Melbourne Orphanage (although she is not a 'real' orphan) with dozens of other homeless Depression children. Following a daring escape along with two other unfortunate inmates, Daisy is returned to the grim orphanage and is left without hope of ever being reunited with her father and sister. With two more to come in Daisy's story and the teaser of her being adopted in the next book, readers will want to continue with the unravelling of Daisy's dilemma.
These books are perfect for the age of the intended audience and whilst not sanitising the troubles of the relevant history of their setting, keep the more graphic details out of the storytelling. Readers will gain an understanding, in this case, of the effects of the Great Depression as well as the population's obsession with the mighty Phar Lap and the Melbourne Cup.
A highly successful project which has kept many young readers fully engaged, this and others in the Our Australian Girl are highly recommended for girls 8 plus.
Sue Warren

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