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Masson, Sophie: The Hunt for Ned Kelly.

** MASSON, Sophie The Hunt for Ned Kelly Scholastic (My Australian Story), 2010 203pp $16.99 pbk ISBN 9781741695649 SCIS 1444032

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The story of Ned Kelly has continued to fascinate generations of Australians. This book takes an unusual approach to the telling of Ned's story--it is in the form of a diary written by a young lad named Jamie. He and his older sister Ellen have recently been orphaned, and his sister is continuing to develop the photographic skills she learned from her father. They decide to take their pony and buggy up to the north east of Victoria (Kelly country) where his sister hopes to earn a living from photography. They make steady progress on their journey meeting some interesting people along the way including some who seem to have connections with Ned Kelly.

Jamie and Ellen are both suspicious and welcoming to this motley collection of strangers--they don't know who to trust and who to be wary of. They arrive in the well-established town of Beechworth and find somewhere to live. Jamie finds a part time job and eventually manages to find work with a newspaper. He is delighted as he wishes to make writing of some kind his future. His diary entries are sensitively written as is Jamie's uncertainty about their lives, the people they come to know, and the truth about the lives of Ned Kelly and his family. Ellen's developing skills as a photographer allows them entry into some surprising aspects of the Kelly family and associates. Also, what is the real truth about the mysterious photograph/ postcard?

This is a skilfully written book--a mixture of fact and fiction in which the reader becomes increasingly involved with the lives of Jamie, Ellen and Ned Kelly. A useful list of other reading and resources is supplied plus a section on how the author's interest in the life and death of Ned Kelly developed. A fascinating book.

** Book by an Australian author or illustrator

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Author:Hanzl, Anne
Publication:Reading Time
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2010
Words:328
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