When eleven-year-old Noah stows away on his big sister’s geography field trip, everything goes wrong. Lost on an uninhabited island, the minibus has toppled over the edge of a cliff, the teacher has disappeared and Noah may have broken the internet. Without food, phone signal and adults the children look doomed until Noah finds a treasure map and they head off in search of gold and hopefully the magic button to reset the internet and stop the world from plunging into disaster…
Take six children, drop them on an uninhabited island, switch off the internet and watch the chaos ensue. Brilliantly written, this is a cracking adventure story that is told with all of the wit, warmth and charm that I love in Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s books. The genius idea of taking modern children that have only ever known life with the internet and watching them try to navigate the world without it is both hilarious and thought-provoking.
Entertaining and a great deal of fun, there are some meaningful things to ponder within the story as Cottrell-Boyce really asks the reader to think about life and how we have become so over-reliant on technology. With no internet, the six protagonists immediately feel disconnected from the world and their feelings and conversations are bang-on-point as they wonder where there ‘feel-good’ will come from with no one to like their posts, contemplate the point of taking phots without the ability to share them to their story and feel utterly knowledge-deprived when google isn’t around to provide all of the answers. What prevails though is a new view of the world, some lovely friendships and a thoroughly enjoyable adventure that shines as brightly as the stolen gold.
The story is carried by a brilliant cast of characters all of whom bring something different. Dario is full of interesting facts until the internet disappears and then his knowledge becomes rather stilted, Ada is convinced that the island is home to fairies and that Noah is some kind of magical being, and Eve is pretending that Noah isn’t her brother for one reason or another. Very different, all very likeable and all desperate to get off the island, they make for a great bunch who are resourceful, resilient and when required can work as team, despite the constant talk of eating each other - well if needs must!
The tales of survival play out through a series of letters between Noah and his parents - at least that’s how it appears - that he posts in a mail box and that somehow make their way to his home despite there never appearing to be a collection and there definitely isn’t a postman. These heartfelt letters offer much needed advice to Noah and touch on his home life that reveals a family with their own struggles and dealing with food poverty.
With fabulous illustrations by Steven Lenton, Cottrell-Boyce’s latest title is a resounding success. I strongly recommend children take some time away from the screen and pick up Noah’s Gold, it is a brilliant children’s book, it is GOLD!
Recommended for 9+.