Living in the rugged western area of New South Wales is the Barker family--mother, father, and six children ranging from twenty-year-old Jack to Fanny, six. Mrs. Barker's need for an operation sets in motion the attempts (eventually successful) of the four middle children to earn the money needed. The decision is made less from love than from a childish sense of guilt that the mother's illness stems directly from her working too hard over a party held two days earlier. The methods each child takes to earn money are true to his basic character; the adventures are portrayed vividly and both the terrain and the children become very real. It is a book that again reminds us that pioneers in any country, at any period in history, must devote almost all their energy to survive and there is little place for the sentimental ""togetherness"" we take so much for granted. Unfortunately, the author-omniscient style will limit the appeal for all but superior readers; for them, it should prove a satisfying experience.