Review Blog

Mar 30 2012

Meet Alice by Davina Bell

cover image

Our Australian Girl (series). Penguin, 2012. ISBN 978 0 14 330629 0.
(Ages: 9+) Recommended. Historical. Alice is a ballet student under the tutelage of Miss Lillibet, who has found that her old teacher is coming to Perth. She arranges for Alice to dance for him as she is sure she has talent. When the great man arrives, Alice is home looking after her younger siblings, and as her teacher has not yet arrived to take her to the town hall, she leaves the children and goes alone. Arriving back home, one of the children has fallen into the river and nearly drowned, causing Alice to regret her tragic decision and vow never to dance again.
Against this story we see World War One being played out, with their father in Europe, brother Teddy receiving white feathers in the mail, the dance teacher being interned because of her German heritage and Mum working in the bank as the men have all enlisted.  
Set in Perth, the story is one of the Our Australian Girl series and so is well supported by a website which contains information and teacher notes for each of the now 6 stories of girls in different historical periods in Australia's history. At the end of this story, as with the others, is a teaser, the first few pages of the next in this series, Alice and the apple blossom fair, while information is given about Australia at the time.
Alice is endearing, and girls will identify with her regret at leaving her siblings, and her adoration of her older brother. Many issues are touched upon in this the first in the series about Alice, leading the reader to want to read the next three books.
Fran Knight

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