Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy: The Masked Man, a book review


Title: Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy: The Masked Man
by: Jane Smith
Publisher: Big Sky Publishing

When Tommy Bell’s father’s car breaks down on a road trip, Tommy and Martin are stranded overnight in a motel room in a strange country town. Things get even weirder when Tommy finds himself roaming the deserted streets on a moonlit night, way back in 1869. But wait – is that an armed robbery in progress? And who is that masked man?

I love the Australian History Series, written by author, Jane Smith. The Masked Man is book 8 in the Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy Series. It brings to life a robbery that occurred on the 8th of May, 1869. Andrew George Scott (aka Captain Moonlite) robs the London Chartered Bank at Egerton near Ballarat, disguised in a mask and a cloak, and Tommy, the fictional character of the series, witnesses the robbery when he travels back in time after putting on his cabbage tree hat. But then Tommy finds himself in a spot of trouble and escapes, by returning to the present, then convinces his friend, Martin, to put on his time travelling boots to return to the scene of the crime to help the innocent men accused of the robbery.

Jane has a particularly effective writing technique where she sets the scene of the story, pulls the reader into the problem, then adds action, upon action, upon action, to keep the reader turning the pages. The fast-paced storytelling never fails to keep your attention.

I highly recommend Tommy Bell Bushranger Boy: The Masked Man, not only as an engaging way for children to learn about Australian history, but also as a high-interest chapter book for independent readers. The main characters, Tommy and his best friend, Martin, are likeable characters who insert a sense of humour and friendship into their adventures as they travel back in time to a snapshot of bushranger true stories.

As an added bonus to the story, there is a section at the back of the book titled: ‘historical note’. It focusses on the historical facts of the robbery, followed by an amusing fictional ‘question and answer’ with Captain Moonlite.

Purchase a copy: tommy-bell-bushranger-boy-8

The Masked Man
Author: Jane Smith
Release Date: 12/Aug/2019
Subject: Bushrangers, Adventure series, Time Travel, Australiana
Pages: 100
Book Type: Paperback
ISBN: 9781922265425

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Children’s Author, Novelist, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a published author and illustrator who is continually inspired by the gift of imagination and the power of words. When she is not disappearing into her imaginary worlds as Julieann Wallace – children’s author, or as Amelia Grace – best selling fiction novelist, she is working as a secondary art teacher, writing mentor for primary and secondary students, book designer, and book magician for other authors. Julieann is a self-confessed tea ninja and Cadbury chocoholic, has a passion for music and art, and tries not to scare her cat, Claude Monet, with her terrible cello playing.


Julieann is a member of:
Queensland Writers Centre
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