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Rivet Boy

Book Synopsis

Based on real people and events, Rivet Boy blends fact and fiction to tell the story of one boy’s role in the building of the iconic Forth Rail Bridge-Scotland’s greatest man-made wonder-in 1889.

When 12-year-old John Nicol gets a job at the Forth Bridge construction site, he knows it’s dangerous. Four boys have already fallen from the bridge into the Forth below. But John has no choice-with his father gone, he must provide an income for his family-even if he is terrified of heights.

John finds comfort in the new Carnegie library, his friend Cora and his squirrel companion, Rusty. But when he is sent to work in Cain Murdoch’s Rivet Gang, John must find the courage to climb, to face his fears, and to stand up to his evil boss.

Our Review Panel says...

Set in Victorian times, this is the story of the children who worked on the dangerous job of building the famous Forth Bridge.

This is a truly exciting adventure that brings a real historical scenario to life. The thought of being perched up on top of the bridge with no safety measures at all made my blood run cold! Add into that some villainous villains and a child hero and you have a recipe for breath-taking episodes and action-packed escapades, with a seamless blending of fact and fiction.

The book is quite a slim one and very easy to read. The shorter length makes it very attractive to children who want to read more complex material but have less stamina and are put off by lengthy books.

As Tom Palmer, quoted on the cover, says , “I loved it”. The cover image behind Palmer’s quote turned out to be a photograph and a montage (by Richie Chan and Tsekhmister)- it looks like a painting by an impressionist artist and is very beautiful. There are also small drawings dotted around the text by Sandra McGowan. Based on real people and real events, the additional photos at the end add to the reality of the time and place.

The topic of Victorian child labour is often covered in schools and this story has a new dimension to add to the more commonly covered workplace scenarios of mines and factories. The story will also appeal to budding engineers, with fascinating insights into the construction of one of the UK’s most iconic bridges.

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Rivet Boy: Reading Pack

A resource pack provided by the author to accompany the book Rivet Boy.

Rivet Boy

rivet boy

Book Details

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