What a gloriously wonderful book. The completely absorbing story of four children whose plane crashes in the Amazon jungle, they are utterly alone and learn to survive using common sense and good luck. The pace is great, the things that happen to the children all seem to fit with the situation even though they are completely fantastic. They decide to try to get home using a map they’ve found, strap a raft together using intuition and set off to try and escape their situation. The river carries them to meet The Explorer, a man with no name and a mysterious past. He is vastly irritated to have these children turn up in his space but ends up being their saviour.
The detail in the book is just wonderful, the food that they children survive on, tarantula eggs and other jungle treats! The sounds of the animals and birds are beautifully described. The writing just carries you away into the world of the Amazon. There are lots of wonderful moments. The children are perfectly described and The Explorer is so cleverly done, the lonely man with no need for the outside world an fighting to right the damage that has been done to the environment. I found myself highlighting lots of lovely passages. I found myself quite emotional at time the story quite moved me, the parting words of The Explorer as the children begin their journey back to civilisation are just gorgeous.
‘And all of you – do not forget that, lost out here, you were brave even in your sleep. Do not forget to take risks. Standing ovations await your bravery,’ Con swallowed. ‘But I’m afraid,’ she whispered. The Explorer nodded, scarred and dusty and matter-of-fact. ‘You are right to be afraid. Be brave anyway.’
Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for giving me access to this book. I’ll be buying multiple copies for school, the students who’ve loved survival stories like Hatchet will love this.