Alice-Miranda in the outback by Jacqueline Harvey

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Alice-Miranda book 19. Penguin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760891039.
(Ages: 8+). Recommended. Alice-Miranda in the outback is the nineteenth book in the popular middle grade series. Author Jacqueline Harvey has once again delivered an entertaining and exciting read full of mystery and dangerous situations. She also provides an Acknowledge to Country out of respect for the Indigenous characters in her story as well as recognising the land the story takes place.
In this newest adventure Alice-Miranda, her family and best friends travel to the Australian outback in their school holidays to help support a family friend of Alice-Miranda's father. The story begins with a prologue where the reader is introduced to Barnaby Lewis the owner of the outback station who is struggling with the demands of a failing bore and family concerns. He is needing support and help is on the way with the gang from the city. On the journey to Hope Springs, the family and friends meet some interesting and colourful characters although astute Alice-Miranda already has her radar up about the owners of the General Store where they stop for lunch. They run into one of the owners later in Coober Pedy and all is not what it seems. An old mate of Hugh's, Sprocket McGinty, lives in a local dug out and shows the group around but later turns up at Hope Springs with a somewhat cagey explanation. Added to this mix is a partly torn map, a hidden diary, a snake bite, a missing child, an opal miner named Taipan Dan who has not been seen for many months, cattle mustering, limited water and mysterious strangers camping on the station.
Jacqueline Harvey has set the scene for another enjoyable read where Alice-Miranda and her friends use their clever problem solving skills to help Barnaby and his family solve the issues with the bores and the unwelcome strangers. Alice-Miranda is also instrumental in solving a sensitive family issue with her wise and caring manner. Themes: Family, Friendship, Adventure, Australian outback, Opals, Mystery, School holidays.
Kathryn Beilby