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Meet Letty : Our Australian Girl Series : Book 1 - Alison Lloyd

Meet Letty

Our Australian Girl Series : Book 1

By: Alison Lloyd, Lucia Masciullo (Illustrator)

Paperback

Published: 31st January 2011
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Published: 27th January 2011
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It's 1841 and Letty is on the docks in England, farewelling her bossy older sister who is about to take a long sea voyage to Australia. But then there is a mix-up,and before she knows it Letty finds herself on the ship too, travelling to New South Wales! How will Letty manage when her sister doesn't even want her on the ship? And what will it be like on the other side of the world?

Meet Letty and join her adventure in the first of four exciting stories about a free settler girl and her new life in a far-off land.

About The Author

Alison Lloyd started learning Chinese in school because it was a challenge, then later went to live in China for two years - she was living there when army tanks rolled in to suppress the student movement in 1989. Alison loves history - both the big sweep of events and the little details of how people lived. Her favourite stories are about people's deep feelings - hope and despair, loyalty and betrayal, love and loss. Put these things together in a book and she can't put it down. That's why she wrote her first novel Year of the Tiger. Before she wrote Year of the Tiger, Alison worked for the Australian Government, in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Alison lives in Melbourne with two kids, two grandparents and three chickens, but only one husband.

About The Illustrator

Lucia Masciullo grew up in Livorno, Tuscany, among smells of saltiness and rosemary. She always loved painting and after graduating in Biology she decided to pursue her dream career as an artist. In 2006 she moved to Brisbane and since then has been happily working as a fine art painter and freelance illustrator. She has recently illustrated Sonya Hartnett's The Boy and Toy.

'Don't fuss. They can't get far.' The girl gestured towards the other side of the ship. 'I've already measured the deck. It's just nineteen steps across, when the sailors don't get in the way. I'm Jemima,' said the girl, twirling one of her curls. 'What's your name?'

'Letty,' she answered. 'My sister's Lavinia and I have to find her straight away.'

'We'll ask the Doctor then.' Jemima pointed to the back of the ship, where a wooden balcony rose above the deck. 'See the bald man with the long moustache?'

Letty saw a man with a pen and paper in his hands, next to another in a top hat.

'The Doctor's nearly as important as the Captain,' said Jemima.

Jemima was so confident - Letty gladly followed her up the wooden ladder.

'Good afternoon, Doctor,' Jemima said.

The men turned around.

The gentleman in the top hat glared at them.

'Have I seen you already?' The Doctor frowned at Letty.

Letty shook her head.

'Name?' he wanted to know.

'I'm Letty Beddows,' she answered.

He looked down his list. 'Miss L. Beddows, female, unmarried emigrant,' he read. 'Done.' 'But sir, I -' she began.

The Doctor waved her away with his pen. 'Only cabin passengers are allowed on the poop.' He turned his back.

Letty wanted to tell him she was the wrong Miss Beddows. But he didn't want to listen.

Jemima stuck her tongue out at the men's backs. 'Poop to them too!' she whispered to Letty.

'Let's go,' Letty whispered back. She didn't want to be on the poop deck if she wasn't supposed to be there. She wanted to be off the ship completely. She had to find Lavinia before the ship left the jetty.

'There she is!' From the ladder, Letty spotted her sister coming up from the hold, looking around her.

'Lavinia!' yelled Jemima, in a voice as loud as a boy's.

Lavinia picked up her skirts and swept across the deck. She stood in front of Letty with her hands on her hips. 'We looked all over the shore and the jetty for you,' she said. 'What are you doing here?'

'I was minding your chest. You didn't come back.' Letty saw Jemima take a look at Lavinia and slip away. Letty guessed why - Lavinia in a temper was like an iron hot from the fire, hissing steam and not to be messed with.

'Where is it now?' demanded Lavinia.

'In the hatch,' Letty answered, with pride.

'That's just as well! But why didn't you wait on the dock?'

Why didn't you come back? thought Letty. 'I told you,' she said in a small voice, 'Papa said to stay with the chest.'

'Oh, never mind!' Lavinia gave Letty a short, hard hug. 'You'll have to get off right   now and find Papa by yourself.'

'But, Lavinia, the gangplank's gone.'

'No!' Lavinia stared at her. She grabbed Letty by the wrist and called out to the Doctor.

'Excuse me!'

The Doctor looked down from the poop deck.

'Help us, please,' Lavinia said. 'My sister shouldn't be on board.'

'I beg your pardon?' he said.

'My sister here,' Lavinia said, 'has to be let off the ship.'

'Isn't she on the passenger list?'

'No, I am,' answered Lavinia.

The Doctor frowned again. Lavinia and Letty followed him to the ship's front end, where he interrupted a sailor shouting orders.

'First Mate, this child must disembark.'

'Cable stowed then, Jones?' First Mate roared at the freckled boy Letty had spoken to before.

The boy was dripping with green slime and mud now. Letty thought he looked like a mermaid gone wrong. The ship was a very strange place, where she didn't belong, and Letty desperately wanted to be away from it.

'Yes sir.'

'There's your answer,' the Mate bellowed at the Doctor. 'Ship's anchors are stowed; towlines are fastened. The tide won't stop for nobody and neither will I!'

The Doctor turned to Lavinia.

'Your sister must remain on board, Miss Beddows.' The Doctor's moustache twitched as he looked down his nose. 'It's a great nuisance.

A nuisance? thought Letty. Is that what she was?

'Ready the mainsail!' First Mate yelled. A dozen sailors swarmed up a crisscross net of ropes, stretching like a spider web from the big mast in the middle. The ship's crew were undoing the knots that held the biggest sail in place. The sail began to flap like the wings of a monster seagull. The ship creaked and shuddered. It really was about to take off.

'I can't believe it,' Lavinia said. They looked helplessly at the wedge of water between the ship and the jetty. Lavinia twisted her shawl between her fingers. 'Look, Letty! It's Papa! Wave for all you're worth!'

Papa was clutching his watch chain, looking very small amongst all the people on the jetty.

'Papa!' Letty screamed. Lavinia fluttered her best red handkerchief madly.

Papa's hand went up. He'd seen them.

He'll come after me in a boat, thought Letty. He must. 'I'm here, Papa! Help me get off'

ISBN: 9780143305408
ISBN-10: 0143305409
Series: Our Australian Girl
Audience: Children
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 136
Published: 31st January 2011
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 13.2  x 1.0
Weight (kg): 19.9
Edition Number: 1