Project Description



by Mary Steele

Jess Huggins never expected to spend his vacation with the Featherbys.

Jess Huggins is an average Australian sixth grader, expecting another dull vacation looking after her younger brother and sister. But then Jess and her best friend Sophie dare to explore the mysterious house next door known as Featherbys.

Behind the overgrown yard and the tumbledown house they find the Misses Featherbys, two elderly sisters who protect some surprising secrets. The Featherbys share their history with their newfound young friends, gradually drawing the girls into their mysterious circle, and soon Jess and Sophie are determined to return the house to its past glory. Together, they start a chain reaction of events that will change their lives forever.

Format: Paperback
Price: $6.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-135-7
Publication Date: 9/1/1996
Page Count: 186
Size: 5-1/4 ̎ x 7-3/4 ̎
Age Range: 8 – 12
Language: English
AR Level: 5.5
F&P: S, Gr 4, Genre RF
Themes: Age, Community


“The strong character development… will draw readers into this good, old-fashioned story…. Jess tells the story, but her reflections are sidelights on the conversations and actions that will keep the pages turning throughout this rewarding novel.” ―Booklist

“Flower power—and the power of friendship—prevail in this quaint, environmentally friendly tale set in Australia.” ―Publishers Weekly


Book of the Year Awards (Shortlist, Younger Readers) ―Children’s Book Council of Australia, 1994

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Meet the Author

Mary Steele is one of Australia’s most successful and best-loved writers for children. She is also the author of Featherbys, Arkwright (winner of Australia’s Children’s Book Council Book of the Year for 1986), Mallroots Pub at Misery Ponds, Citizen Arkwright, and A Bit of a Hitch. Steele has lived in Australia all of her life and has worked as a children’s book reviewer, librarian, and freelance writer.