Andrew Kelly (text) and Heather Potter & Mark Jackson (illustrators), Little Lon, June 2020, Wild Dog Books, 40 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781742035970
When the new Commonwealth building was planned for Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, the demolishers and archaeologists found remnants of people’s lives. Andrew Kelly mentions many of them, but he specifically recounts the childhood of Marie Hayes who lived in a small weatherboard house in the street – Little Lon. Marie’s family were not well off, but happily survived amid the multicultural environment of early twentieth century central Melbourne, playing on the street and having a weekly bath at the City Baths.
This warm and lavishly illustrated story is intended for primary readers. It is based on interviews of the families who lived in early Little Lon and would provide an introduction to the experiences of modern children’s great grandmothers. It may surprise them to see how much and how little has changed.
Reviewed by Stella Lees