The Bushranger’s Boys by Alison Lloyd

The Do You Dare? series is the new companion to the highly successful Our Australian Girl books. Judging by the first story, it’s going to be every bit as popular. These books are sure to attract boys, but girls as well (although we know that OAG has its male fans, too), and all the ingredients that make OAG a hit are immediately evident.

In The Bushranger’s Boys, set in 1841 in New South Wales, young Jem is as much of a prisoner as his former-convict father, thanks to the landowner’s cruel disposition. After a first chapter that simmers with Jem’s frustration, a notorious bushranger bursts onto the scene and inspires Jem to aim for a life of freedom. With two new friends – Alfie, the studious son of a servant, and Tommy, a Ngarigo boy – Jem risks his life to do what he thinks is just. The pace is excellent, as is the characterisation and lightness of touch in terms of historical detail and setting. This is history brought to life in a very accessible way. The series will make for great family reads as well as for confident readers. I’d love to see a girl make her way into some of these exciting adventures, but The Bushranger’s Boys is a wonderful start to the series.

The second book, Tough Times, is also available.

Emily Gale is a Children’s & YA Specialist at Readings Carlton, and a Children’s & YA writer the rest of the time.