Superstar! by Jane Smith. Illus. by Pat Kan

cover image

Superstar is number three in the Carly Mills Pioneer Girl series by Jane Smith. Like all the books in the series, it is a time-travelling adventure where  contemporary tweenager Carly Mills travels from present day places in Australia back to the times of significant women of the past. In other books in the series Carly meets Caroline Chisholm, Dr. Lillian Cooper, Florence Nightingale and Amelia Earhardt. In Superstar, Carly and her friends time travel several times from a school choir trip to Melbourne back to the late 1900s/early twentieth century to meet both the young and the grown up, world famous opera singer Dame Nellie Melba.

The books in this series blend fiction with history to bring history to life for younger readers. The books, being short reads with large print and simple vocabulary, should be attractive and accessible to the reluctant reader. The stories are fast paced and full of action and dialogue. The chapters are short and punchy.  The illustrations, by Pat Kan are simple pen and pencil sketches. The cover is reminiscent of the graphic novel illustration genre.The stories are based on true stories of inspirational women. 

The Carly Mills Pioneer Girl series would be a useful addition to school libraries as it provides in its simplicity combined with solid historical facts, a pathway for less able readers to access history. The series would be a helpful inclusion in a list of resources for Year 5 and 6 History in the Australian Curriculum where Colonial Australia and Federation are studied because they would cater for  differentiation for less able readers.  An important aspect of the History curriculum is the understanding of perspectives. This series will be helpful for students who wish to explore the female perspective. 


Themes: Pioneer women of Australia.

Wendy Jeffrey