Carly is visiting her friend in Sydney a few months before she is to begin boarding school. They visit Customs House where Carly finds, and is allowed to keep, two discarded old shawls. As they are waiting at traffic lights to cross the busy 21st century street, Carly tries to imagine what Sydney was like when the shawls were new. She soon finds out because when she puts her shawl on, Carly is transported to the 1841 Sydney. Feeling lost and alone, she is soon befriended by a woman who takes her in. But this is no ordinary woman, Carly has met Caroline Chisholm. Carly stays with her in the hut that is to become the Female Immigrant’s Home, founded in 1841. When Carly takes off her shawl she is returned to the present day, walking alongside her friend Dora. The two girls then travel between times with their shawls, discovering what life was like then and how very special Caroline Chisholm was. They face some nasty characters and learn how hard girls their age lived and worked during this time.
Carly and Dora are well written characters. They are friendly and fun, but also want to do the best and help people. Historical facts and the lifestyle of colonial Sydney is woven seamlessly into the narrative and young readers will enjoy the easy way the narrative flows. Independent readers will enjoy this book, dotted with illustrations. It will also make a good read aloud for the classroom or at home.
This is the first in a new series of books by author Jane Smith about female pioneers of the past. Future volumes will include Dr Lillian Cooper, Dame Nellie Melba, Florence Nightingale, Amelia Earhart and Miles Franklin.
This book is a must for school and public libraries, sharing a time from our colonial history.
Many thanks to Jane for supplying an advanced eBook copy for review.