Howlers Beach, 1932. Butter O'Bryan lives in a Very Small Castle with his father and three aunts - Aunt Elephant, Aunt Cake and Aunt Peculiar. These aren't their real names, of course, just as Butter's father isn't really called 'Pongo'. And even though Butter is only twelve years old, and the grandson of one of Australia's most successful Jam Kings, he is very aware of the hardship many people are experiencing.
Butter has been told there are ghosts at the nearby isolated Howlers Beach, but are there? And how can the children Butter plays cricket with on the beach simply vanish? Who are these children and why do they refuse his help? Butter is certain they're hiding a secret, and he's determined to uncover it.
Butter O’Bryan lives on the beach with his Dad and three aunts. Australia is in the grip of the Depression, and even though Butter’s family is well off he still understands how hard it is.
One day Butter notices three kids playing cricket on the beach and asks to join them. They say no and then quickly disappear - but where did they go? Butter is determined to find out where they are hiding and why they are so scared of him.
This is Jackie French at her very best, as she brings to life these hard times and all the struggles that families faced. The characters are full of resilience, hope, and determination, and even the roughest of them have a kindness that we could all do well to replicate.
I would suggest reading the authors note at the back of the book first, so they have a greater understanding of the time the book is set in.
A truly heart-warming and remarkable story, perfect for all readers in Year 5 and up.
Reviewed by Michelle