A Waltz For Matilda | Jackie French

How much historical fiction is too much historical fiction?

Jackie French’s novels for primary aged readers embrace the history, they revel in the history, the roll around in the mud like pigs in love with history…but she does it so well.
And it’s not just HIStory – Jackie rights the imbalances of most historical records by making this book HERstory.

Matilda is a strong, level-headed, gutsy protaganist. After the death of her mother and aunt, Matilda is forced to decided a better way for her to live her life. Poverty, factory work and a drunken husband seem the only way ahead. That is until one day Matilda’s friend, Tommy, suffers a crushing, painful injury in the jam factory where they both work.

Matilda decides to leave the city in search of her father, a shearer, who had gone bush years before and hadn’t been heard from for over year.
This sparks an extraordinary adventure and introduces Matilda to a completely new way of life, full of possibility and hope.

We follow the course of Matilda’s early life in the country, finding out the ‘true’ story behind our national folk song “Waltzing Matilda”. She endures hardship, drought, grief and loss. Despite all this Matilda thrives.

A Waltz For Matilda is a wonderful ramble through Federation Australia. Easy to read & enjoyable from start to finish. Highly recommended to mature readers 10+

In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. But drought grips the land, and the shearers are on strike. Her father has turned swaggie and he’s wanted by the troopers. In front of his terrified daughter, he makes a stand against them, defiant to the last. ′You′ll never catch me alive, said he…′

Set against a backdrop of bushfire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl’s journey towards independence. It is also the story of others who had no vote and very little but their dreams.

Drawing on the well-known poem by A.B. Paterson and from events rooted in actual history, this is the untold story behind Australia′s early years as an emerging nation.

One thought on “A Waltz For Matilda | Jackie French

  1. My son's teacher read this to his Year 5 class last year. It took them most of the year, but it held their interest. I must get to read it soon. Her Nanberry was one of my favourite books of 2011.


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