Victoria's Market, by Nan McNam

Reviewed by Tash Hughes


Billabong’s Daughteris the eighth in a series of fifteen books about Norah Linton and her family on their station, Billabong. The series was very popular with girls as they were printed, and has touched generations of Australians and others.

Billabong is an isolated cattle station in Northern Victoria in the early 1900s. Having never known her Mother, Norah lives with her Father, David, elder brother, Jim, and adopted brother, Wally.

An enjoyable book, with much to give younger readers, Victoria’s Market is about a young girl and her father going on their weekly shopping trip.

The story itself will interest children, as they can understand the idea of a child being separated from her father in a public place. Like most children would, Victoria wanders around the market looking for her father, rather than staying still for him to find her.

From page to page, the book alternates perspective between Victoria and her father as they search. Much to the children’s amusement, Dad is constantly seeing unusual beings at the market: a giant, a werewolf, a monster, a spy and a vampire, just to name a few.

The pictures and text show the diversity of things available at a market, giving many opportunities for discussions about foods and produce. It is also a great lead in-book for children about to visit a market and for children able to visit the Queen Victoria Market, it is even more appropriate as the book is based there.

Illustrations by McLean are coloured sketches and they include many details so that it is easy to imagine being at the market with the characters.

Eventually, Victoria and Dad meet up near the food stalls and have their usual treat together. Observant readers will then discover that Dad wasn’t really imagining things in the Market!

Victoria’s Market, by Nan McNam, illustrated by Andrew McLean
Allen & Unwin, 1992