Shine Mountain

Julie Hunt

Shine Mountain
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Shine Mountain

Julie Hunt

On his deathbed, Ellie’s pop reveals a secret - a magical button-box. It’s a musical instrument from the Gleam country - a land far from Spit Farm and the mountains, with talking goats, sweet grass and corn that grows so high you have to fell it with an axe.

But the button-box’s magic is sinister. When Ellie plays it, flowers bloom and crops spring up overnight - but soon the farm is cursed by drought and her beloved oma is gravely ill.

To save her oma and discover the truth about her own identity, Ellie must embark on a dangerous journey to the Gleam country - the only place where the evil button-box can be destroyed.


It is always a good start when you open a book and there’s a map. Great, a questing journey; maybe a past mystery to solve, but always a future to save. Julie Hunt ushers her characters in with a deft hand – they are strong and true, and you’re there with them before you know it. Ellie’s life at Spit Farm with her grandparents is a simple one, but when her grandfather dies, a terrible curse involving a small instrument is unleashed, a curse that threatens everything Ellie loves.

She decides she must return this object to where it was made in the hope she can negate its power and devastating impact. For company, Ellie has her brother’s strong and valiant horse and her beloved nanny goat; both of these creatures prove to be her means of transport and survival and are terrific characters in their own right. In fact, Shine Mountain is populated with memorable characters, be they human or animal.

Hunt’s first book won our inaugural Readings Children’s Book Prize five years ago with the wonderful Song For a Scarlet Runner, and Shine Mountain is every bit as compelling and exciting. Ellie’s magical tale of courage and perseverance is sure to be a hit with ages 8 to 12.

Alexa Dretzke is the assistant manager and children’s book buyer at Readings Hawthorn.

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