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The Drover’s Quest by Susan Brocker

May 15, 2012

The Drover’s Quest by Susan Brocker. Pub. HarperCollins, 2012.

My immediate thought on this action packed novel, was that it would make a great read-a-loud for school years 5/6 and 7/8.

It has less than 180 pages, the chapters are short, the action comes thick and fast and it has an array of characters that will hold the interest of everybody.

Charlotte’s father finds a gold nugget the size of a fist in the West Coast goldfields of the 1860’s. He goes missing presumed murdered, so his 14 year old daughter Charlotte passes herself off as a boy and accompanied by Tama Ihaka her father’s best friend, she joins a cattle drive over the Southern Alps to the West Coast to find him.

Will her true identity be revealed and worse is her father really dead?

On the drove she meets a 15 year old part Cherokee Indian boy who can ride like the wind and is heading for the gold fields. They become friends but how can she hide her womanliness?

Then there is the head drover call Scar, who knows something that he is not revealing. Plus there is a horse called Cobber and a dog called Skye.

The journey from Christchurch, across the plains and over the Alps to who knows what is thrilling. Susan Brocker is to be congratulated for putting so much into such a short novel.

Take my word for it primary and intermediate kids will love this story of early New Zealand.

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