The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury 2018).
The book begins with some children in an aeroplane flying over the Amazon, and then the plane crashes in the middle of the jungle. The children are stranded in the jungle, and find a clearing where they use a hollow tree to set up camp, with a river nearby. They can’t find food, though, so they eat leaves and whatever they can forage. One day, Max vanishes and another boy finds him up a tree watching monkeys dip hands in ants’ nests and get honey – and in the tree they find a map! They use this to tell them how to get home. They make a canoe, and they travel around and do some exploring, trying to get home, and they go up a hill and fall down and land in a courtyard made of stone, which looks like a ruined temple. There is a vulture and someone comes out from behind a green vine, and says “What are you doing here?” and shoos them away. The children explain, and the man says they can stay and gives them some food, and they stay there. The children plan to go in the canoe to get home, but the man, who they call the Explorer, teaches them to hunt, including spiders which they eat! But one day Max catches a tarantula in the dark, which gave him terrible bites, and he will die if they don’t get him to hospital. And another strange thing is that sometimes they hear a strange roaring from behind the creepers, where they are not allowed to go. I don’t want to say any more because I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but there is a happy ending.
I really like this book because it’s full of adventures but you also get to see the jungle in a different way, as well as nature. The children are interesting characters but my favourite is probably Lila, because she’s the sensible one who makes sure they don’t get killed, but she is also adventurous. I also really liked the Explorer, because he is mean sometimes but he is forgiving and he helps the children – sometimes he’s nice and sometimes he isn’t but he is really interesting and different. I recommend this book if you are a person who likes adventures. It’s quite a long book but this is good because you get really into the story, and there are some lovely black and white drawings in the book too. Katherine Rundell is a really good author and I have read some of her other books now too. Happy reading!
Book review by Edward Sollars, age 9