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Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy 3

The Gold Escort Gang

(3 customer reviews)
Authors: Jane Smith Illustrator: Pat Kan
Bushrangers, Adventure series
128mm x 198mm

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When Tommy Bell finds himself caught in a struggle between two friends, he decides to take a break from it all and escape … back to 1862! Tommy’s magic cabbage-tree hat sends him back once again to the gold rush days, when he stumbles into more trouble than he left behind. Face-to-face with the dangerous Frank Gardiner and his mates ‘Flash Jack’ and Ben Hall, Tommy learns about the value of true friendship…and about how it feels to be part of one of most infamous robberies in Australia’s history!

Jane Smith

Jane Smith

  Author and librarian Jane Smith has a passion for Australian history and bushrangers in particular. With thirteen books on the subject published since 2014, and with titles receiving award nominations in the ABIA and CBCA awards and glowing reviews nationally it appears that Jane’s fascination with Australian history is shared by children, parents and […]

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Pat Kan

Pat Kan

Pat Kan is a talented and versatile artist, illustrator and graphic designer who is a real whizz in kitchen. When he’s not playing soccer/tennis dad for his boys, he’s known to whip up a mean Tiramisu. He loves travelling and has some great travel stories … just ask him. He has illustrated several children’s books […]

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3 reviews for Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy 3

  1. Author Jane Smith specialises in bushranger stories. Aside from the Tommy Bell adventures, she has written a series of non-fiction books about some of these ‘wild colonial boys’. With this book she brings the Colonial era to life, basing the story on true events and introducing real people of the time. Smith is even handed in her presentation of actual historical events, with different characters offering different perspectives on what is happening and why. This allows the reader to understand that it’s not always a clear case of ‘good guys and bad guys’ – at times people are caught up in events beyond their control. At the same time Tommy himself has a clear moral compass, and at the heart of the story is a dilemma he faces: whether to support his friend in stealing a bike from another boy at his school. This is a nice depiction of peer pressure: at first Tommy considers going along with the theft so that he can stay part of the gang, but once he meets bushranger Ben Hall and sees that Ben is going to lose everything because he didn’t say no to his friend, he finds the courage to stand up against the theft. At the end of the book he models appropriately assertive behaviour in responding to his friend’s pressure. Although he has a strong sense of right and wrong, he is also very sensible – he knows when to keep quiet and hold his opinion in a difficult or even dangerous situation. The illustrations, by Pat Kan, are in the bold style of woodblock prints, whilst each chapter heading is designed like a ‘Wanted’ poster, giving the book strong visual appeal. At the end of the story are historical notes that provide further detail about the real people and events depicted in the book, including the time two bushrangers went skinny dipping whilst waiting for a robbery and had to flee naked on horseback when the coach came early. There is also a Q&A with Frank Gardiner, one of the bushrangers, bringing him to vivid life. For added appeal, Tommy has a horse that travels through time with him

  2. These junior novels are an excellent resource; they support the Year 5 History Curriculum and provide understanding of the historical era, making them an easy to use research tool – comparing and contrasting daily life, transport and the motives behind the bushrangers’ actions

  3. 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.

    Julieann Wallace – Book Reviews and Writer’s Ink

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