Audrey of the Outback series

post written by Emma Filbrun

Title: Audrey of the Outback series
Author: Christine Harris
Major Themes: Australia, Outback, Family Life, Family Read-alouds, 1900-1950
Synopsis: This fascinating trilogy describes a family’s life in the Outback of Australia through the eyes of an imaginative, fiesty girl.

I often read blog posts about books that people recommend, looking out for good books to read aloud to my boys (not that we have a shortage, but it’s always nice to see what other people recommend!). One of those posts awhile back talked about the Audrey of the Outback books. These are three books about a girl who lived in the Outback of Australia. I checked our library’s website, and they happened to have ebooks of them. We’ve figured out how to read those ebooks on my computer, so, now that we’re done with the Little House books, we’ve read about Audrey.

Even though my listeners are mainly boys, they enjoyed Audrey of the Outback. The 15-year-old was not very interested, the 13-year-old only somewhat, but the 7- and 9-year-olds were quite enthusiastic about going on after finishing this one. We’re guessing that Audrey was about 9 or 10 throughout this book, and did she ever have an imagination! She also couldn’t decide what she wanted to be. When a swagman (tramp or hobo) came by and spent a little time helping out at the house in exchange for food, Audrey decided she was going to be a swaggie—I loved the way her mother handled this decision! Next, she decided she was going to be a man—until her brother blew up the dunny (outhouse)! Her next identity lasted an even shorter time.

We enjoyed reading about life in the Outback, where it was difficult to make a living. I was intrigued by the natural use of Australia vocabulary, which was quite similar to the way people talk here in New Zealand. Some of the terms used, like the kitchen bench, or the chookyard, were words we had to figure out when we got here—there is a glossary of interesting words in the back of the book in case you get stuck. Another thing that kept our interest all the way through was Audrey’s friend Stumpy. It took until the last chapter to work out who or what Stumpy was! The only warning I have for the entire book was one use of the word blasted in chapter 14.

The second book in the series is Audrey Goes to Town. Mum needed medical help, so the family spent several days riding in their cart pulled by camels, to get her there. Mum, Audrey, and Douglas stayed in town with a widow, Mrs. Paterson, while Dad and Price went back home. Audrey had never met someone like Mrs. Paterson before—could she ever find the woman’s good side? Dad said everyone had a good side, but this woman?

We had to chuckle many times at Audrey’s misunderstandings and the scrapes she found herself in as she tried to understand Mrs. Paterson, care for Douglas, and try to get to see Mum. Living in town was certainly different from living in the outback! As far as warnings for this book, the word heck appears in chapter 13, and Audrey and a friend discuss ghosts in chapter 29.

The third book is titled Audrey’s Big Secret. When she went outside one night, Audrey saw something white moving around—what could it be? Then, she discovered an Aboriginal girl hiding in her cubby house out in the bush. The girl had an injured foot, and was desperate to avoid being caught and taken back to the school she had been put in. How could Audrey get food to the girl, and not tell anyone her secret? I was impressed with the way her mother handled this situation, as well. The warnings I have for this book were the words my oath in chapter 6, heck in chapter 9, and could have sworn in chapter 23.

The Audrey of the Outback series was well worth reading. Audrey is a very fun character; her imagination is great! She is also very caring towards her family and friends. The setting is fascinating, as well. We quite enjoyed reading about life in the Outback of Australia in the 1930s. Life was rough, but the family was strong and loved each other.

WARNING: See warnings with each title.


Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15

 

Links to buy the Audrey of the Outback series:

Amazon: Kindle Collection

 

This review was written for the entire set of books. You can buy the individual books here:

Audrey of the Outback, Book 1—

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle

AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com

Book Depository: Paperback

 

Audrey Goes to Town, Book 2—

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle

AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com

 

Audrey’s Big Secret, Book 3—

Amazon: Paperback | Kindle

AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com

 


Keywords:
Australia, Outback, Family Life, Family Read-alouds, 1900-1950

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