Mrs Whitlam (Bruce Pascoe, Magabala)
As I child I would devour any book that had a horse in it, no matter the story, and this new book by Bruce Pascoe (Fox a Dog, Sea Horse) has plenty to satisfy any horse lover, but also deftly handles issues of race and privilege. Marnie’s family is poor, her dad’s out of work and her mum is Aboriginal. There’s no money for horses. So she can barely believe her luck when she is summoned to a rich lady’s house and asked to take away the horse (called Mrs Whitlam) belonging to her dead daughter. Marnie gets racist taunts from the wealthier girls at Pony Club, but when she and the horse become involved in the dramatic rescue of a small child, she finds new confidence. Not only is Mrs Whitlam an engaging story about the relationship between a horse and a young girl, the writing effortlessly tackles important issues. I highly recommend it for middle-fiction readers between nine and 12 years of age.
Angela Crocombe is the children’s buyer at Readings Carlton