Sat in a hut staring at a bowl of water and a pebble, Ariki is meant to be learning how to be a Star Walker. Bored with Arohaka’s lesson her mind wanders to the ocean and when Arohaka briefly leaves her alone she seizes the chance to get out to sea with friend Ipo and pet pig Bad Boy.
Enjoying their freedom and having fun, the stowaways are blissfully unaware of the storm that they are sailing into. Swept away by the wild seas, Ariki, Ipo and Bad Boy find themselves shipwrecked on an island that they have never been to before. The island is a world of wonder with an abundance of wildlife, plants and trees. When they meet another island dweller, he too is in love with the natural beauty of the island but he also reveals a much darker and dangerous side to island life…
From Zoologist Nicola Davies comes the second adventure starring Ariki. I haven’t actually read the first story but this is a standalone read so no prior knowledge is needed. I will be seeking out the further Ariki adventures though as I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Davies is a champion of nature and looking after wildlife and her passion shines through in this thrilling adventure story. She introduces readers to a wonderful world of blue oceans and luscious island paradises and her evocative descriptions bring Turtle Island and the surrounding area to life. You can feel yourself floating on the waves and then being immersed into the beauty of the newly discovered island with its trees that ooze golden resin, butterflies, lizards and huge birds with blue feathers and purple eyes. I love that Davies has raised the importance of respecting nature and the dangers of introducing non-native species to a habitat into the narrative.
Ariki is an excellent lead character. She is skilled, bold, brave and resourceful. Her love for the natural world shines through and her connection with the animals is such that she believes she can communicate with them. Throughout the narrative the children are surrounded by animals and time and again the animals play a big part in keeping the pair safe from harm. A clear message that we need to take care of the natural world and live in harmony with animals.
Nicola Kinnear’s Illustrations that are featured throughout are detailed and vary between full page spreads to images that fill part of a page. I’m a particular fan of all the illustrations featuring animals.
A lovely read for nature loving children and for those who care about animals and the environment.
Recommended for 6+.