Meet Daisy by Michelle Hamer

cover image

Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Our Australian Girl. Puffin, 2014. ISBN 9780143307631.
(Age: 8+) Australian History, Depression, Poverty, Melbourne. When Daisy's widowed father loses his farm, he must send his girls to Melbourne to live with their Aunt May and Uncle Berty, while he searches for work. But things are tough, and once in the city, Daisy finds that instead of a loving aunt she has a cross, ill-natured one, who barks orders and is riddled with expectations. She threatens the girls with being kicked out of home if their father does not send any money, and tells Daisy that she is of an age to go to work.
Daisy is appalled at the state of affairs in her relative's house and determines to make things better. But in doing so she offends Aunt May to the point where she is kicked out of their house. She must now survive in a hostile new city without any support.
This story will appeal to readers of this series, the author has given a background which will augment readers' knowledge of the poverty felt in Australia in the 1930's. The story moves from the country to the city, exploring the way people made do in such circumstances, Daisy with her dress sewn from a flour bag, the twins next door wearing only one shoe for half a day then swapping, lines of people waiting for the possibility of work. While Aunty May is drawn heavily, readers will love the difference between the two adults, and read on to discover how Daisy makes it alone.
Fran Knight