Grim Crims & Convicts, by Jackie French

It was the craziest, wildest and most daring expedition the world had seen.
Eleven ships with nearly 1500 people travelled 25 000 kilometres to the other side of the world. But what did they find when they arrived?

Grim Crims and Convicts is an intriguing look at the early days of European settlement in Australia. It details the early time of the colony from the arrival of the first fleet in 1788 through to 1820, charting the hardships and difficulties faced by the settlers, the impact their arrival had on the Aboriginal population and way of life, and the development of the colony.

Whilst this is not the first book written on the subject, for children it is certainly the most accessible. French has a humorous yet honest style, which doesn’t gloss over serious events. The text is complemented by the cartoon style illustrations of Peter Sheehan, putting his own funny spin on events.

This is history which kids can enjoy, even while they are learning plenty about this important part of Australian history. It is the first instalment in an eight-part series covering Australian history from prehistoric times to the Centenary of Federation.

Good stuff.

Grim Crims and Convicts, by Jackie French, illustrated by Peter Sheehan
Scholastic Press, 2005