‘The real world is where you feel most real.’
Katherine Rundell is fast becoming the go-to children’s author for an authentic and exciting children’s novel. After reviewing her previous novel (The Wolf Wilder) earlier this year, I can safely say that she is enroute to joining the ranks of Dahl & Co. when it comes to producing a story that will capture even the most stubborn child’s imagination!
The story of The Explorer is pretty simple. Four children survive a plane crash in the opening chapter and must navigate the perils of the Amazon rainforest until they can get home. To do this they must find food and shelter. What follows is a fantastic tale of challenge and adventure as the children learn who they really are in the face of danger. The story may be simple but the writing is both very real and gritty thus allowing the reader to experience the sights, sounds and even the tastes of the Amazon.
‘You can eat all of it, including the face.’
I loved the The Explorer for many reasons. Even though it was bursting full of imagination and adventure, it was based on people and places in the real world. This always makes a story more interactive and instantly believable.
In the foreword, Rundell explains that nearly everything that happens in this novel happened to her to some extent during her own adventures in the Amazon. This video describes her reasons for writing this unique tale of adventure and bravery:
I also loved how the story pays homage to famous rainforest explorers of the past such as Percy Fawcett, Simon Murphy and Christopher Maclaren. Reading through this book I could not help but think about the Indiana Jones films and the upcoming Jumanji remake. Fawcett’s story was recently made into a movie called The Lost City Of Z. It’s brilliant to see the great tradition of the adventure story still very much alive today.
On a final note, what made this book extra special was how is subtly dealt with themes such as identity, bravery and protecting the natural world. Each character in the story deals with struggle in a different way, particularly when tough decisions have to be made. Rundell deals with concepts such as love, loss and fear in a delicate manner and this adds real weight to the story. I wouldn’t be surprised if this novel makes the leap to the big screen sometime soon.
‘You should always dress as if you might be going to the jungle. You never know when you might meet an adventure.’
Would I recommend this book to a friend?
Yes this is an ideal bedtime or classroom read to spark an interest in the natural world and its amazing animals and secret places. There are no boring parts to this story as Rundell brings us on an adventure deep into the Amazonian jungle.
The publishers have also kindly released a 19 page FREE teachers’ resource pack to go with the novel, to access the pdf click here!
So now that I have you convinced…What are you waiting for?!