To the bridge. The Journey of Lennie and Ginger Mick by Corinne Fenton and Andrew McLean.

Thirty-three days after leaving Leongatha, Lennie rode Ginger Mick down George Street in Sydney.

Have you ever heard of the story of a young boy name Lennie Gwyther who in 1932 rode from his family farm in country Victoria to Sydney to see the Sydney Harbour bridge open?

At the ripe old age of 9 years old, he travelled on his own for 33 days through bushland, quiet country towns, rain, cold and welcoming crowds. He even met the Prime Minister – Joseph Lyons, in Canberra!

Not only will this picture book amaze young readers it will also inform them of what life was like in Australia one hundred years ago. It was a more simpler life where children could be trusted and were capable of riding horses for over a month on their own and cars didn’t clog the streets.

Readers will see the landscape of Australia as Lennie passes them by as well as the people who lived in these country towns. They will see the seasons and the land and feel the distance between major cities and small towns that now are much smaller.

The emotion of anticipation runs through the story as we grow to understand just how important the bridge building was to many Australians.

This book is a great tool to use in the classroom to explore transport, Australian history and the landscape. It also explores family life before modern communication and medicine and what determination and perseverance can look like.

The story is written beautifully and the illustrations match impeccably. Andrew McLean’s sketches really alert all of the senses and take you back 100 years. They show the journey young Lennie embarks on through each landscape he passes by.

What else can you do with this book?

Explore other people who were there when the bridge opened. Explore the different perspectives of this day. (Literacy)

Learn about how the bridge was constructed and then link into how bridges are constructed (Science and Numeracy)

Learn more about Lenni and Ginger Mick. Why was Ginger Mick such an important part of this story? Why has his name been mentioned? (Literacy)

Compare images in this book to what Sydney looks like now. Explore the differences and similarities. (Geography, History)

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