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Meet Poppy : Our Australian Girl Series : Book 1 - Gabrielle Wang

Meet Poppy

Our Australian Girl Series : Book 1

Paperback

Published: 31st January 2011
For Ages: 8 - 10 years old
Ships: 5 to 9 business days
5 to 9 business days
RRP $14.99
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Published: 27th January 2011
Format: ePUB
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Meet Poppy is the first story in a set of four about the amazing journey of a young Chinese Aboriginal girl, who lives on a Christian mission in 1864. It is a story of bravery and love, as Poppy sets out to chase her brother after he escapes from the Mission in search of freedom and a better life.

About The Author

Gabrielle Wang is the author of The Garden of Empress Cassia, The Pearl of Tiger Bay, The Lion Drummer, A Ghost in My Suitcase and Little Paradise.

A few hours later she was awakened by a terrifying howl.

Poppy sat bolt upright. Where was she? She felt around her. Oh, my nest. Her eyes adjusted to the dark. Then she gasped. In the moonlight she saw a large dog trotting towards the base of her tree.

She sat rigid, not daring to breathe as it came closer and closer. If it was a dingo, Poppy wouldn't have been worried. Gus said dingos were more scared of people. But this looked like a wild dog, a very large wild dog.

The dog lifted his head and sniffed the air. He stood on his hind legs, resting his front paws on the trunk.

Poppy's fingers closed around the hilt of her knife.

'Good dog. Good boy. I'm only staying for one night.' She spoke in a soft calm voice.

A low growl came from the dog's throat and he laid back his ears.

'Go on home, now,' she urged. 'I promise I'll be gone by the morning.' Poppy's voice was shaking so she began to hum 'The Bellbird Song'. The notes were soft and tentative at first but then she sang the words. To her surprise, the wild dog dropped to the ground and trotted away.

Poppy listened all night for the dog to return.

In the morning, she looked over the side of her nest. Tracks led around the tree, down to the water's edge and back again. She looked up and down the river. Only then did she spot the dog, on the other bank.

Surely he couldn't have swum that far!

Now was her chance to get away. She quickly climbed down then stood for a moment watching, the safety of the water between them. The dog was beautiful, with pale grey fur and a proud and noble head. He looked more like a wolf, but how strangely he was acting.

He was standing by a partially submerged log, not moving, just staring into the water as though admiring his own reflection. Then suddenly, he plunged his whole head under the surface. When he came up, he was holding a large flapping fish in his mouth!

Poppy couldn't believe it. She watched as the dog placed his paw on the fish and began tearing at the flesh, snapping through the bones. After he had eaten every scrap - tail, head and all- he lay down, panting gently.

The dog looked at her but then he pricked up his ears and stared upstream.

It took Poppy a few moments before she heard it too - the soft chug chug chug of another paddlesteamer. Quickly she ran behind the big tree as the boat came into view. It travelled towards her and she saw people standing on the deck.

As it passed she heard snippets of their conversation about the goldfields and meeting up with relatives and friends. There was also mention of the gold at Beechworth and Rutherglen. Then, someone pointed and shouted.

'Look at that massive brute! Anyone got a pistol? I feel like a bit of sport today.'

No! Don't shoot him! Poppy wanted to yell. But she was too afraid they might shoot her for sport instead.

She looked at the dog, who remained in the one spot watching the boat.

The man took aim.

Poppy shut her eyes. Then she heard a gunshot ring out.

There was a yelp from the far bank. When Poppy opened her eyes again, she saw the dog limping up the embankment and disappearing into the bushes.

'Looks like you winged him, Freddie.'

'Can't you men think of anything better to do than shoot a poor harmless dog?' said a lady sitting under a parasol.

'They're pests, my dear. They kill the pastoralists' sheep, just like those damned natives,' the man replied.

And then the paddlesteamer was gone and silence returned to the river.

If I hadn't been such a coward . . . Poppy sat down on a large rock feeling frustrated and angry with herself. She should have continued on her way but she was worried about the wild dog. Someone has to see if he's all right. Someone has to take care of him if he's hurt, she thought.

ISBN: 9780143305323
ISBN-10: 0143305328
Series: Our Australian Girl
Audience: Children
For Ages: 8 - 10 years old
For Grades: 4 - 6
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 136
Published: 31st January 2011
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 13.3  x 1.0
Weight (kg): 19.9