This new Australian children’s book references the classic and much-loved Australian time-slip story Playing Beattie Bow by Ruth Park. 

lyrebirdMadeleine, 12, is sent to stay with her eccentric Mum Crum – her grandmother Crumpton – over the winter holidays.

Whisked off to a Victorian town (one with a passing resemblance to Mt Macedon), she’s less than excited about a quiet stay in the country. Luckily, adventure awaits!

She finds some dainty 19th century shoes in a hidden compartment of an old cupboard and is taking them to the town’s museum when she hears a lyrebird call in a wild corner of the local park.

In a moment, her world changes. Tumbled into the world of 1900, Madeline has to think quickly when she is found by the clever Gert and her sisters. Taken into their home, where a stern Nanny rules, Madeleine has to negotiate some decidedly uncomfortable clothing and stuffy rules while she works out what’s going on.

Apart from the girls’ parents and their servants, also in the household is the girls’ aunt, an outspoken suffragist they affectionately name Hen Pen.

When enchanting German cousin Elfriede comes to visit, the mood of the house changes.

There is tragedy ahead, and Madeleine will need all her wits about her if she is to get back into her own time safely.

Aimed at middle-grade readers, When The Lyrebird Calls is an enjoyable time-slip adventure that explores feminism and historical attitudes without getting preachy.

This book was published in October 2016.