Birrung the Secret Friend by Jackie French
Published by Harper Collins Australia
Barney Bean is the 10 year old son of a convict. Harsh life in the early settlement of Australia, his new homeland, sees him without his mother. He has to fend for himself, always on the lookout for others trying to steal his measly amount of maggoty rations that barely keep him alive, let alone a friend, Elsie, whom he shares his food with, in their secret hideout.
With his very last visit to the storehouse, he is set upon by a large man after his rations. Bullock Man. Barney Bean has no speed on him. But in an instant, Bullock Man goes down, clasping his knee. Barney looks back. He has been saved by a girl. An indigenous girl named Birrung. As their friendship grows, Barney Bean keeps a secret.
Best-selling and award-winning author, Jackie Jackie French has written a superb story about life in Australia's earliest settlement days. Her way with words will pull you into the story so that you feel that you are really there. You will form an attachment to the characters that will stay in your heart and mind long after you have finished reading the story.
Illustrator, Mark Wilson, has captured life in the colony at the beginning of each chapter with fine detail. His cover design of Birrung the Secret Friend is stunning.
Birrung the Secret Friend is a story of survival, understanding, friendship, loyalty and kindness. It is a story to be treasured. This is the first in a new series from Jackie French called The Secret Histories.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Jackie French
Illustrator: Mark Wilson
Title: Birrung the Secret Friend
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Published: February 2015