Timber Creek Station

Ali Lewis (Author)

Product Details

Carolrhoda Lab (R)
Publish Date
March 01, 2018
5.1 X 7.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Ali Lewis was born in rural North Yorkshire, England. Ali found the inspiration for Timber Creek Station while working on an outback cattle station in Australia. She currently lives in North Yorkshire.


"Originally published in the UK, this 2012 Carnegie Medal shortlist title is a peek into the Australian rancher's lifestyle. Danny lives on a cattle station and not only helps his family with the livestock but has to grapple with the recent death of his older brother and his older sister coming home from boarding school pregnant. Were these troubles not enough for the 13-year-old, Danny's mom hires a clueless English backpacker to help around the house right before the annual muster (roundup of livestock), Danny's favorite time of year. Drought, racism, and family strife run rampant in Danny's world and threaten to tear an already fragile family apart if they cannot work together to survive despite their misfortunes. Rife with Australian colloquialisms that can be figured out easily enough through context, this title toes the line between a difficult and compelling read. The abundant use of exposition may slow some readers down, but those who stay the course will be greatly rewarded in the end. VERDICT: For a public or school YA collection looking to add diversity by way of Australia or in need of titles with context clue vocabulary lesson potential. Hand to readers who enjoy quiet plotlines with plenty of conflict."--School Library Journal


"Thirteen-year-old Danny lives with his family on a cattle station in the Australian outback. It should be an exciting time for him. He is about to take part in his last muster (deciding what cattle go to slaughter or stay), his favorite part of running a cattle station, before heading to boarding school. His fourteen-year-old sister's baby is due the same month, and Danny is worried its arrival will ruin the muster. His parents hire a house girl to help them out, a British girl named Liz, who cannot even make toast without burning it and is clueless about cattle. However, Liz gets Danny to open up about the recent gruesome death of his older brother, a subject no one at his house dares to breach. Tensions in Danny's family multiply with the reveal of a secret and with the apex of the drought that threatens their station. Lewis's story is astoundingly well written and intensely absorbing. Vivid details and Australian slang bring the unique setting of the outback to life. Readers learn along with Liz about the hard and sometimes alarming work that running a cattle station entails, as well as about the deep-seated racist attitudes toward Aboriginals. Danny's emotional narrative voice is captivating and candid. The many small story lines weave together to create a poignant and raw story about prejudice, family, grief, loss, change, and healing."--VOYA


"Battling drought on their remote Australian cattle station, Danny Dawson's once-close-knit family, already torn apart by older brother Jonny's accidental death six months ago, learns that older sister Sissy, 14, is pregnant; Liz, the English backpacker hired on short notice as household help, will prove the catalyst for needed change. Danny, 13 and asthmatic, won't let his mother touch Jonny's side of their room. He's even more isolated now, since Sissy has withdrawn; their younger sister, Emily, is only 7. Liz is clueless--she knows nothing about animals and can't even cook (plus, she's vegetarian). Danny's contempt softens when Liz shows a dogged, good-humored willingness to learn and persuades him to talk about Jonny. The baby camel Danny raises also promotes healing. But the approaching annual cattle muster coincides with new shocks that threaten to upend his family all over again. First published in the U.K. and shortlisted for the 2012 Carnegie Medal, this debut is peppered with Australian slang (context makes most meanings clear). It offers an exceptionally vivid picture of a fascinating world foreign to most American readers alongside issues mostly avoided in U.S. children's fiction--early teen pregnancy, virulent racism, and animal husbandry specifics, none of it airbrushed. Immensely likable and utterly convincing, Danny will have readers hoping for the future just as hard as he is. More middle-grade than teen, mature themes notwithstanding, highly recommended for boys and adventurous readers of all ages."--starred, Kirkus Reviews


"Living deep in the Australian outback on a cattle station, 13-year-old Danny Dawson experiences rough family times. His older brother Jonny died suddenly in an accident last year and now his pregnant 14-year-old sister is hiding the baby's father's identity. Their parents and a younger sister, the ranch workers, a governess, and a new family helper round out the characters--except for the aboriginal neighbors who have outcast status in Danny's community. Flagrant racism has emotions running hot after the identity of the baby daddy is revealed. British author Lewis' debut is based on her time as the family helper on just such an outback locale. Detailed descriptions of cattle management are explicated, and the Aussie lingo of Pommie, drongo, bickie, doona, and the like are sprinkled throughout. It is the learning curve of Liz that will engage the reader who is open to understanding a variation of abject intolerance in a remote culture that is perhaps, sadly, not fundamentally different from our own."--Booklist