This is the most delightfully uplifting book I’ve read this year! It perfectly conveys the ‘feel-good’ factor of a summer blockbuster – in words! It is reminiscent of simpler and more innocent times, when children made their own entertainment: this took me on a nostalgic trip down memory lane, recalling the many times myself and my brothers and sisters put on ‘shows’ for our long-suffering parents on our rural farm! But clearly not in such style as Luna, Margot and Fabien!
The Butterworth family are in a dire situation after they are evicted from their home. Luckily, Luna has entered a competition to win an island courtesy a very generous billionaire – and they do! Rook’s Island is a remote island in Scotland, and is just what the family needs to help them heal after the death of their Gran, which has left their father depressed, and unable to connect with his family.
The children are incredibly believable, and likeable, with distinct personalities. Margot is the more serious, matter-of-fact sibling with a penchant for planes. Luna is entrepreneurial, determined and an eternal optimist with a desire to open a donkey sanctuary. Fabien is the impulsive, gregarious, knitting-loving instigator of many genuinely hilarious moments: where Fabien goes, chaos seems to follow! The relationships between the three siblings are wonderfully heart-warming: realistic, loving, supportive and humorous.
Once they arrive on the island, the children are determined to organise a secret festival in the hope that it will cheer up their Dad. Of course, things don’t go exactly to plan: cue escaping cows, interfering yoga guests, and underaged ice-cream van driving. And so much more!
I loved the sense of community, the episodes of comedic genius and the heart-warming relationships. Although there were some sad and poignant moments relating to their Dad’s depression, this is ultimately a joyously uplifting read. The inclusion of Dad’s depression, handled so deftly by the author, gives families, and teachers, a perfect opening to address some mental health issues should they choose to do so.
I can’t wait to return to next year’s festival! I have no doubt this story will be loved by both adults and children, and am really looking forward to sharing it with my class after half term.