Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

The Ratcatcher's Daughter

Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

The Ratcatcher's Daughter

Article excerpt

Title: The ratcatcher's daughter

Author: Pamela Rushby

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014

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The Black Death ... in Brisbane? The ratcatcher's daughter explores the little known history of the occurrence of the plague in Brisbane in 1900. Spread by fleas on rats into Sydney's ports, the disease quickly begins to take its human toll which leads to panic, suspicion and an overwhelming requirement to exterminate the rats. This is where Issy McKelvie comes in, with her father, or Da as she calls him, and his trusty terriers.

With the outbreak of the plague in Brisbane, Mr McKelvie is suddenly the most sought after man in town, as people desperately try to eliminate rats in and around their homes. But when her father falls ill, it is up to Issy to take over the rat-catching business which requires her to overcome her fear of the two things she dislikes the most--her father's rat terriers and, of course, rats.

This book would be suited to lower secondary students, particularly as a resource for English and the Study of Society and Environment. It investigates the often unheard of event in Australia's history, the Black Death, and it also explores the themes of racial prejudice and women's rights in Australia in the 1900s. …

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