'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 20 May 2016

Review: Ned Kelly's Helmet

If you’re looking for a fun way to get children interested in history, Paul Stafford has the answer. His experience as a literary consultant ‘specialising in reluctant male readers’ has given him tools to explore and re-form history lessons in a unique way. 

This title is a standout. Its clever prose sizzles on the page. The highly imaginative storyline, and the combination of historical characters and their stories, kept me turning pages, laughing out loud and impressed with what I was reading.

The story starts with a history lesson and role play, based on The Great Roman Slave Auction. Robbie is sold as a slave for a day to old Mrs Fezzle for $500. The money is to go towards the building of a basketball court for their underfunded school.

What Robbie sees and learns on that slave day at Mrs Fezzle’s place, makes him take up the challenge to win the most authentic historical project. He plans to utilise Mrs Fezzle’s old air-bubbled crystal ball, to go back in time and bring back Ned Kelly’s helmet.

As in all perfect plans, something goes wrong. Robbie, his brother Andrew, and classmate Frances whose ancestors were the Kelly family, get trapped in 1880. Mayhem ensues.

Full of mystery and adventure, time tunnelling, and with excitement on every page, this book will not be put down till the last word is read. I loved its cleverness and the unusual way it was crafted.  Fantabulous was a word we used as children to describe something fantastic and fabulous. That’s how I describe this novel in one word.

Title: Ned Kelly’s Helmet
Author: Paul Stafford
Publisher: New Holland Publishers, $14.99 RRP
Publication Date: April 2016
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781742578651
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Fiction