Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy: The Masked Man, a book review

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Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy: The Masked Man
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

When Tommy Bell’s father’s car breaks down on a road trip, Tommy and Martin are stranded overnight in a motel room in a strange country town. Things get even weirder when Tommy finds himself roaming the deserted streets on a moonlit night, way back in 1869. But wait – is that an armed robbery in progress? And who is that masked man?

I love the Australian History Series, written by author, Jane Smith. The Masked Man is book 8 in the Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy Series. It brings to life a robbery that occurred on the 8th of May, 1869. Andrew George Scott (aka Captain Moonlite) robs the London Chartered Bank at Egerton near Ballarat, disguised in a mask and a cloak, and Tommy, the fictional character of the series, witnesses the robbery when he travels back in time after putting on his cabbage tree hat. But then Tommy finds himself in a spot of trouble and escapes, by returning to the present, then convinces his friend, Martin, to put on his time travelling boots to return to the scene of the crime to help the innocent men accused of the robbery.

Jane has a particularly effective writing technique where she sets the scene of the story, pulls the reader into the problem, then adds action, upon action, upon action, to keep the reader turning the pages. The fast-paced storytelling never fails to keep your attention.

I highly recommend Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy: The Masked Man, not only as an engaging way for children to learn about Australian history, but also as a high-interest chapter book for independent readers. The main characters, Tommy and his best friend, Martin, are likeable characters who insert a sense of humour and friendship into their adventures as they travel back in time to a snapshot of bushranger true stories.

As an added bonus to the story, there is a section at the back of the book titled: ‘historical note’. It focusses on the historical facts of the robbery, followed by an amusing fictional ‘question and answer’ with Captain Moonlite.

Purchase a copy: tommy-bell-bushranger-boy-8

The Masked Man
Author: Jane Smith
Release Date: 12/Aug/2019
Subject: Bushrangers, Adventure series, Time Travel, Australiana
Pages: 100
Book Type: Paperback
ISBN: 9781922265425
Publisher: http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Children’s Author, Novelist, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
https://www.facebook.com/julieannwallace.author/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

Julieann is a published author and illustrator who is continually inspired by the gift of imagination and the power of words. When she is not disappearing into her imaginary worlds as Julieann Wallace – children’s author, or as Amelia Grace – best selling fiction novelist, she is working as a secondary art teacher, writing mentor for primary and secondary students, book designer, and book magician for other authors. Julieann is a self-confessed tea ninja and Cadbury chocoholic, has a passion for music and art, and tries not to scare her cat, Claude Monet, with her terrible cello playing.

 

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Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves, a book review

9781925675238-BSP-Tommy-Bell-Gang-of-Thieves-Cover

Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

School camp can be fun, but not when it’s run by a nasty bully who picks on Tommy Bell and his friends. But when Tommy’s magic cabbage-tree hat takes him back in time to meet up with Ben Hall and his gang, Tommy discovers that even in the gold rush days there were bullies … and they were on both sides of the law!

They also really knew how to make trouble …

Multi-published author, Jane Smith, has captured the life of bushranger, Ben Hall, with accurate observation through the eyes of a fictional young character, Tommy Bell.

Tommy is on school camp at the town of Young, an old goldmining town. He lists the good and bad things about going on a school camp, but the worst thing about this camp is one of the leaders, Mr Porter. He is just outright mean and nasty. In fact, he is a bully. A grown-up bully! It’s during one of Mr Porter’s bullying rants that he shoves Tommy’s woven ‘straw-like’ hat made from the leaves of a cabbage-tree onto Tommy’s head, and in an instant, he finds himself back in time. He notices that the air is fresher and the birdsong louder, before a man enters Tommy’s time-travel adventure – Ben Hall (9 May 1837 – 5 May 1865) – an Australian bushranger.

Tommy joins Ben Hall and his accomplices—Johnny Gilbert, John O’Meally and Patrick Daley. They ride on horseback to a placed named Little Wombat, a goldfield near Young. When they enter Mr Soloman’s store, a gun battle breaks out: Tommy has just witnessed a robbery. Tommy hangs around with the bushrangers for a little longer before he removes his time-travel hat and returns to his school camp where his friend finds gold. However, the callous Mr Porter claims the gold as his, gets angry and shoves Tommy’s hat back onto his head. Tommy travels back in time again to Ben Hall, and the scene of another hold-up: a failed bank robbery.

Tommy also witnesses other incidents with Ben Hall in this action-packed chapter book that will have readers turning the pages. Another bonus to this Bushranger Boy series can be found the final pages of the book—a chapter called ‘Historical Note’, which contains a photograph of Ben Hall and interesting information about his life.

Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves, is the fifth book in the Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy collection. It’s a remarkable Australian series where fictional characters watch Australian history unfold before their eyes. I highly recommend it for schools, independent readers, and for kids who love Australian history.

I’m looking forward to Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy Book 6 due for release in 2019, titled Mrs Thunderbolt.

Purchase a copy: Tommy Bell-Bushranger Boy-Gang of Thieves

Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Gang of Thieves
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781925675238
Category: children
Pages: 100
Subject: Bushranger, Adventure series

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords
www.julieannwallaceauthor.com

Julieann is a member of:

Anzac Sons – Five Brothers on the Western Front, book review

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Title: Anzac Sons – Five Brothers on the Western Front
by: Allison Marlow Paterson
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

…Well dear Jim it breaks my heart to write this letter. Our dear [brother] was killed yesterday morning at 5.30. The bullet killed him instantly and he never spoke a word. I had just left him and gone down the trench to see the other lads when I was called back. Oh Jim it is awful…Oh I do hope he is the last…

Anzac Sons – Five Brothers on the Western Front is a book to treasure. It’s a piece of Australian history that should never be forgotten.

Author, Allison Marlow Paterson has meticulously researched the true-life stories of five brothers – Charles, George, twins Percy and Allan, and Albert Marlow, who eventually enlisted in the Australian Army to serve their king and country, and fought in World War 1, one of the greatest tragedies and deadliest conflicts in history.

It wasn’t an easy entry into the army for the brothers. Jim and Percy weren’t tall enough and were rejected, Jim had poor eyesight and was rejected, and Charlie had dental problems, and was rejected. But as circumstances may have it, all five brothers ended up serving with the promise to return, words that were echoed the world over.

From there we follow the lives of the five brothers; three of who would never return to home soil. The full colour book is engaging and intriguing, filled with postcards, maps, photographs, papers, medals, telegrams, field service cards, identification bracelets, Red Cross reports, newspaper clippings and handwritten letters. Every page is attention capturing, inviting the reader to learn more, to know more, to feel more.

I highly recommend Anzac Sons – Five Brothers on the Western Front for all families and children, not only those who love Australian history. I also highly recommend it for educational use in primary and secondary schools, as it fits perfectly as a brilliant resource for Remembrance Day, as well the Australian Year 9 History curriculum, World War I.

Teaching Resources PDF 

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The spirit of the soldiers of the Great War lives on in the legacy they left behind.
We are the custodians of that legacy and we should never forget.

Purchase a copy of Anzac Sons

Title: Anzac Sons – Five Brothers on the Western Front
by: Allison Marlow Paterson
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 9781922132796
Category: non-fiction
Pages: 47

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

Julieann is a member of:

 

Meet… Sidney Nolan, book review

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Title: Meet … Sidney Nolan
by: Yvonne Mes
illustrated by: Sandra Eterovic
Publisher: Random House Australia

Sidney Nolan is one of Australia’s most admired and recognised visual artists. This is the story of how he developed his iconic Ned Kelly series of paintings, brought modernist art to Australia and took Australian art to an admiring international audience.

Sidney Nolan and Ned Kelly. There’s a connection between the two that may be unknown to some Australians. Fortunately, author Yvonne Mes, has highlighted their association and brought Sir Sidney Robert Nolan, OM. AC. (1917-1992) to life in her book, Meet … Sidney Nolan.

At first glance, the cover of the picture book is striking, calling you closer, inviting you to open the pages and look inside. When you do, you won’t be disappointed. Yvonne Mes retells the life of Sidney Nolan with gentle attention at first, reminding me of being called to sit in a group and wait in anticipation for important information. And it is important. It is the story of Sidney Nolan – one of Australia’s leading artists of the 20th century, his work being among the most diverse and prolific in all of modern art. As the story continues, Yvonne uses her words to paint the story of Sidney’s life in your mind, and it is action packed, urging you to turn the pages to find out more. It soon becomes apparent that Sidney Nolan’s life had many twists and turns. He was daring, brave, and a “rebel on the run”.

Yvonne’s story is also a story about persistence. Sidney was turned down with his paintings numerous times, but he never gave up. He “poured his feelings about war and violence onto the hardboard. He poured the adventures of his youth. He poured his modernist ideas. And he poured his secrets that would forever remain hidden behind the Ned Kelly’s mask”.

Illustrator, Sandra Eterovic, has created vibrant, stunning illustrations, and you can’t help but notice the style is somewhat similar to Sidney Nolan’s painting style which is rich in colour, and striking in composition. I applaud Sandra’s work. She honoured Sidney Nolan with her illustrations.

I highly recommend Meet … Sidney Nolan as a valuable resource for informing, educating and celebrating the life and wondrous achievements of one of Australia’s significant modern artists, Sidney Nolan, as well as introducing students to the concept of modernism in art.

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Yvonne Mes referred to Sidney Nolan in the her story as, “he painted many magnificent stories”. I believe Yvonne wrote a magnificent story about Sidney Nolan. This is one of my books to treasure.

The Ned Kelly Series Gallery

Purchase a copy: Meet… Sidney Nolan by Yvonne Mes

Connect with Yvonne Mes at: http://www.yvonnemes.com/

 

Title: Meet … Sidney Nolan
by: Yvonne Mes
illustrated by Sandra Eterovic

Publisher: Random House Australia Children’s

ISBN: 9780857985903
Category: children
pages: 36

Also by Yvonne Mes, illustrated by Giuseppe Poli

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

Julieann is a member of:

 

Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Outback Adventure, book review

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Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Outback Adventure
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

Tommy Bell’s safe outback holiday on a farm with Martin and Combo is turned upside down when Martin finds a pair of magic old bushranger’s boots. This time, when Tommy’s cabbage-tree hat sends him back to the past, his friend Martin is right there beside him.
The boys join their new friend, Harry, and his gang on a long cattle-droving expedition across Outback Australia. For once it seems as if a journey to the past might be pure, fun adventure, without any risk of running into bushrangers. But why did Harry lie about his past? And who are the ‘thievin’’ McKenzies? It looks like Tommy and Martin’s ‘Outback Adventure’ might be more dangerous than they expected …

Australian history has never been more interesting. Author, Jane Smith, has captured the life of bushranger, Harry Readford, with accurate observation through the eyes of young characters, Tommy Bell and Martin.

Tommy is invited to the middle of nowhere by his friend, Martin. He finds himself at Bowen Downs Station, right in the middle of Queensland. Tommy becomes concerned when Martin discovers a pair of old boots in a cave. He throws on his cabbage tree hat at the same time that Martin puts on the old boots as he is worried about what will happen to his friend. His suspicions of a time machine are confirmed when they go back to 1870. Tommy is well acquainted with the time machine, as his secret treasured hat is also one, and has already taken him on other history adventures.

Tommy and Martin find themselves part of the famous Harry Readford’s gang on a long cattle droving expedition across outback Australia. When Tommy and Martin discover that the cattle are stolen, they choose to return to the present. But the adventure doesn’t stop there…

Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Outback Adventure, is the fourth book in the Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy collection – a remarkable Australian series where fictional characters watch Australian history unfold before their eyes. I highly recommend it for educational institutions and independent readers.

Purchase a copy:Tommy-Bell-Bushranger- Outback Adventure

Teacher notes: Australian Bushranger Series by Jane Smith Teacher Notes.pdf

Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy – Outback Adventure
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-925520-84-2
Category: primary school age children
Pages: 105

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)
www.facebook.com/julieannwallaceonethousandwords/
https://www.julieannwallaceauthor.com/

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