Review Blog

Sep 16 2011

Letty's Christmas by Alison Lloyd

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Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Our Australian Girl (series). Penguin, 2011, ISBN 978 0 14 330543 8
(Ages 9+). Recommended. Australian history. Again, Letty is working on the Grey's farm, helping Mary with the housework and farm chores and looking after the unlikeable Harry. But when the drought continues, Clem and Abner must take the flock to Goulburn, where, unable to be sold as they are, sell them cheaply and boiled down for tallow. The two return, Clem breaking the news that they have decided to go back to Sydney where they can stay with George and find work. Letty and Abner no longer have work on their farm. The group makes a forlorn trek across the Blue Mountains, the wool bales loaded up onto a bullock wagon. The difficulties of the trip are underscored with Harry's truculence and the worry of what lies ahead. When Harry slides down the mountain, Letty follows him, trying to save him.
When they get to Sydney, they find things no better there. A depression has set in, with Lavinia losing her job as well, but not to be down long, the girls find a way to use their skills to create employment and all ends happily as the Greys, Abner, George and the two girls share Christmas.
The books in this quartet of books within the Our Australian Girl series are really impressive. The feeling of living in 1841 is very real, with the background never being imposed upon the reader, but there all the time, adding much to the readers knowledge and understanding of what life must have been like for our forebears.
Fran Knight

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