Publisher: National Library of Australia
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 01 February 2018
What is not to love about this wonderful Heritage Heroes series? Stephanie Owen Reeder introduces readers to a cast of significant Australians with whom many of us are unaware (myself included).
This new volume continues the high standard set by the previous books with not only the fictionalised story of the person, May Wirth, but also the inclusion of relevant information around the circus both historical and current, the period, day to day life and more with the illustrations vividly enhancing these. These include, as in previous titles, advertisements, banners, newspaper clippings, ephemera and more which all add to the overall beauty of the presentation.
After sharing the 2016 Eve Pownall shortlist with my Year 5s, Lennie the Legend was our hot favourite as a winner and we were all very well pleased when our prediction became actualised.
I cannot help but feel that this new volume will also be shortlisted at least and stands a good chance of winning again.
For me it was a fascinating read. To start with this is a Queenslander who began life as a neglected, impoverished and abused child and was ‘given away’ at the tender age of seven. Fortunately for May she was taken in by the Wirths and became an integral part of their circus family. As she grew older little Miss May proved she was tenacious and talented and eventually reached the dizzy heights of performing with the legendary Barnum & Bailey circus in the United States as well as performing for royalty in England. With such an illustrious and long-lived career as May had it is indeed a shame her name is so little known in the common lore of our country. This book will be pivotal in changing that as it introduces the present generation to one of our first Mighty Girls – one who refused to give up, and who stood up for equal rights her whole life.
Well done to the author for this superb account of the indomitable Miss May.
Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards.