Review Blog

Sep 24 2014

The Ratcatcher's Daughter by Pamela Rushby

cover image

Angus & Robertson, 2014. ISBN 9780732297138.
(Age 10+) Recommended. The year is 1900 and the new century starts with the oldest disease - the Black Death.
The year is 1900. Thirteen year old Issy McKelvie leaves school and is forced to take a job at an undertaking establishment. Issy thinks that life couldn't get any worse, that is until the Black Death hits Australia.
Issy despises rats, and her father's four snappy dogs but after her father falls ill, Issy is unwillingly forced to become the new ratcatcher.
Issy also discovers something that makes her burn inside. What she finds will shock her and makes her think about what she really wants in life.
I would recommend this book to both genders, ages 10 and above. This book really helped me to understand what the families and sufferers of this horrible disease would have gone through. I would also recommend it to anyone who likes to learn about the history of Australia.
Pamela Rushby has really captured the way Australia would have been like in the 1900's when the plague hit. The Black Death hit annually from 1900-1909 and again every few years. The last reported case in Australia was in 1922. Fortunately it hasn't struck since. The plague was an event that traumatised Australia in the 1900's, although now it is something that very few people know about.
Jazmin Humphries (Student Year 7)

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