Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy: Shoot-out at the Rock by Jane Smith
Big Sky Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925275940
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Tommy Bell has been in trouble at school and has been sent to his grandad's farm for the summer. Tommy sees it as a punishment but grandma and grandad don't even talk about the troubles. They just make sure Tommy is busy and give him a horse to work with. Tommy is ecstatic. Horses are his favourite thing. It is the discovery of an old hat that makes life even more interesting as Tommy's grandad believes it is an old bushranger's hat. Tommy now has a connection with the bushranger topic he didn't find very interesting at school. Tommy finds himself back in 1836 and face to face with the bushranger Captain Thunderbolt. How is this happening? Is it the hat? Is Tommy imagining everything?
Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy: Shoot-out at the Rock is a short novel at 63 pages and would make a great read aloud class novel as it links well with the Year 5 History Curriculum. At the end of the book, readers will find historical information on the bushranger, Captain Thunderbolt, and there is also a question and answer section. It is an imaginary interview with the bushranger. Children could create their own version after listening to the story and doing their own research. This novel is great for readers who are venturing into the world of novels and who also enjoy a little adventure. The text is easy to read but still describes events in an exciting manner. It is highly recommended for readers aged 8+.