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The Calling of Jackdaw Hollow by Kate Gordon

Updated: Jun 7


‘In truth, it felt like a hundred years that his parents had longed for a child.’


When Thelma and Jack Hollow’s son is born, they can see that he is destined for greatness. They name him Jackdaw after a bird who ‘looked as if he was searching for something shiny and new.’


But Jackdaw’s life of ‘milk and apple sauce’ is sadly ended when his parents are struck by lightning, leaving him an orphan. He goes to live at Direleaf Hall, a school for girls, with Mrs Beekman, the headmistress who loves and gives him the best life and education she can. But Jackdaw is not content. He blames himself for his parents’ death and looks constantly for ‘his own calling’, which he sees as a possible reason to justify his own survival. He makes friends with Angeline, who appears to have her own pathway- a circus career-firmly resolved. But what is Jackdaw’s own special destiny? How can he possibly find it?

The Calling of Jackdaw Hollow is lyrically and sensitively written with a strong message of acceptance of self and the wonder of our world. It would have strong appeal to young readers who love magic, mystery, and happy endings.


Reviewer: Paddy Richardson

University of Queensland Press