The true story about the greatest shearer in the world ... whose incredible shearing record remains unbeaten after more than a century!
"Jack Howe had hands the size of tennis racquets, legs like tree trunks and wrists made of steel. Despite his size, he was light on his feet and did an excellent Irish Jig. But what Jack was really good at, was shearing sheep."
A rollicking Australian story, set in 1892, about the charismatic, Jack Howe - the greatest shearer in the world who set the world record for shearing sheep by hand. He also invented the "singlet"!
The earthy sepia toned colours used in the inviting illustrations, set the background for the hot sweaty work in shearing sheds found all over outback Australia. This true story of Jack Howe, a shearer from Queensland, will intrigue young readers learning about an Australia of the past.
Jack Howe was a tower above men and legend among shearers in the late 1800s. Not only was his sheer physical prowess awe-inspiring but his I-can-do attitude enabled him to beat and set a new hand-shearing record that remains unbeaten. This is his story set in Jack’s day when the wool industry was experiencing a boon like no other before the advent of mechanical sheep shearing. Howe is portrayed with hero-like vigour and heart by McMullin and Tomkins in a story coloured in warm hues and words that chimes of the outback and a stirring part of our Australian heritage. Suitable for lower primary schoolers.
Neridah McMullin’s brisk and witty descriptions of Jack Howe are printed in bold black lettering on double-page full colour illustrations of the shearer wrangling his cloudy sheep from their woolly covers. The large illustrations give Michael Tomkins space to add amusing details to the scenes (is that a sheep’s ear about to be clipped off? What is that mouse doing with scrap of wool?) and to explore the characters of the shearing communities in the 1880s.
Factual information has been turned into a lively and engaging story that bounces along as quickly as Jack can shear a sheep and the illustrations, done in earthy colours, evoke time and place and brilliantly depict Jack’s giant frame, his charisma and larger than life personality. I won’t be sheepish about recommending this historical retelling, it is a wonderfully fun way to learn about a moment in Australian history. Grab yourself a copy, ewe would be mad to miss out!
A Word About Books
This title is ideal for the Australian history section in schools. There isn’t an age limit to the storyline, in my opinion, therefore even adults will thrill to read this excellent picture book.
Kids Book Review