Lots of children have their sights set on being an explorer; learning survival tips from Bear Grylls and busily scouring atlases to plot their future endeavours. These are the children that this book is written for, full of adventure, courage, resilience and the strength of the human spirit.
When the pilot of their plane suffers a heart-attack, Fred, Con, Lila and Max find themselves crashing into the Amazon jungle. Without food, water and no idea which way is home, the children are faced with most perilous of adventures.
Forced to put animosity aside and relying on their natural instincts, they make the best of their situation and begin their search for food and shelter until Fred discovers a map marked with an X. With no other alternatives, the somewhat reluctant intrepid explorers head off in search.
Stumbling upon a hidden city, the children cannot believe their eyes and when a mysterious man emerges they are sure that they are safe, he’s an adult after all and will surely be responsible for them. But the explorer has experienced tragedy, is determined to keep the hidden city a secret and may not be the beacon of hope that the children were after…
Drenched in atmosphere and bursting with fantastic wildlife, The Explorer is a gripping adventure story that will captivate children from first page to last. Like the powerful Amazon river flows, so does Rundell’s storytelling, quickly drawing readers into an epic adventure of peril, danger and new experiences with strong themes of friendship and trust. Embarking on this adventure are four very different children who soon learn that they are braver than they think, more capable than they ever imagined and that together they can maybe make it out of one of the most unforgiving and inhospitable environments.
Rundell creates the most evocative and immersive of stories with moments of danger, joy and fun leaping from the pages. Opening with the plane stuttering mid-air before crashing through the tree canopy, you immediately feel part of the group and are sharing their survival adventure. It is easy to imagine the vivid jungle setting as Rundell effortlessly brings alive the tastes, textures, sights, sounds and smells. You soon find yourself swimming with dolphins, raft riding down the Amazon, outrunning forest fires, eating the freshest honeycomb and pineapples although I might give the roasted tarantulas a pass, fishing with spears, following secret maps and discovering hidden cities.
More than just an adventure story, this is a wonderful ode to one of the most magical places on Earth, addresses important environmental issues and serves as a warning to humans to look after the planet - the nameless explorer regales tales of how human action has put strain on the irreplaceable Amazon rainforest and put it in jeopardy.
A perfect adventure story!
Recommended for 9+.