Review Blog

Jan 16 2015

Our Australian girl (series)

cover image

Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Puffin Books, 2014.
Pearlie the spy by Gabrielle Wang. ISBN 9780143307969
Daisy in the mansion by Michelle Hamer. ISBN 9780143307655
(Age: Yr 3+) Our Australian girl is a series which features 'a girl like me in a time gone by' which tells each girl's story in a mini-series of several books. The series itself aims 'to encourage a new generation to discover our history and culture in all its diversity, and to celebrate the independence of spirit that we treasure as Australians'.
Joining Grace, Letty, Poppy, Rose, Nellie, Alice, Lina and Ruby who have each featured in previous stories are Pearlie and Daisy and soon, Marly.
Pearlie's story is set in Darwin in 1941 and the war is changing Pearlie's life every day. Darwin is full of soldiers, there's a spy on the loose, and people are turning against Pearlie's best friend, Naoko, just because she's Japanese.
For Daisy it's 1930. She lives on a farm, where she loves riding her horse, Jimmy, through the paddocks. Times are tough, and when her father loses his job, Daisy and her little sister, Flora, are sent to Melbourne to live with their aunt and uncle. Daisy must leave behind everyone she loves for a city she's never seen, and even her wildest daydreams can't prepare her for the new life that awaits her.
Each book contains extra pages with information about the time in which the girls lived, providing a deeper context for the setting. Historical fiction is a great way to take students out of their world into new ones and this series is proving a popular way of doing that. I know many Yr 3+ students who eagerly await the next installment. When I reviewed the early stories in the series a couple of years ago I predicted it would be a hit and it has proved to be so.
The website provides a lot of information about the other characters who feature in the series, as well as reviews, activities, author information and extracts to entice.
Barbara Braxton

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