Playing Beatie Bow

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Playing Beatie Bow
Playing Beatie Bow cover.jpg
First Puffin edition, 1982
AuthorRuth Park
GenreChildren's novel
PublisherThomas Nelson (1980) and Puffin Books (1982)
Publication date
31 January 1980
Media typePrint

Playing Beatie Bow is an Australian children's book written by Ruth Park and first published on 31 January 1980.[1] It features a time slip in Sydney, Australia.


The story concerns a 14-year-old girl named Abigail Kirk (formerly Lynette). While distraught over her parents' separation, she travels back in time as the result of a scary playground game.[2] She finds herself involved with a shopkeeper's family in colonial Sydney-Town in the year 1873, where she meets Beatie Bow, a girl whose name appears in the game she was playing. Much of the book is set in real-life locations around Sydney's historical Rocks district.


According to a review by a scholar of today, Playing Beatie Bow falls somewhere between a children’s book and young-adult fiction.[3]

A blog reviewer based in Queensland considers, "The real key to this [story line] is the coming-of-age of Abigail. In building up the wall to protect herself, she’s really shielded herself from other people around her and the things which hurt or affect them. Spending time away from her own problems helps open her eyes up to other people – and the very real things which shape their stories."[4]

In 1986, the book was turned into a feature film also called Playing Beatie Bow. Made by the South Australian Film Corporation, the film starred Imogen Annesley as Abigail, Peter Phelps as Judah Bow and Mouche Phillips as the title character Beatie Bow.


  • Abigail Kirk (formerly Lynette)
  • Beatrice May Bow (Beatie Bow)
  • Gilbert Samuel Bow (Gibbie)
  • Robert Bow (Judah)
  • Samuel Bow (Mr Bow)
  • Dorcas Tallisker (Dovey)
  • Justine Crown
  • Vincent Crown
  • Natalie Crown
  • Katherine Kirk (mother of Abigail)
  • Weyland Kirk (father of Abigail)
  • Alice Tallisker
  • Robert Bow
  • Two Chinese
  • Firemen
  • Audience



  1. ^ Playing Beatie Bow at Google Books
  2. ^ Penguin Australia Retrieved 5 November 2015
  3. ^ Monique Rooney in Reading Australia: Retrieved 5 November 2015
  4. ^ Adventures of a Subversive Reader Retrieved 26 July 2016.

External resources[edit]