The explorer by Katherine Rundell
Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408885284
Highly recommended. Like a man-made magic wish, the aeroplane rose into the sky. It did not stay there for long. Fred has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of reading his name among the lists of great adventurers. But when his tiny plane crashes in the Amazon jungle on his way back to England, his dreams suddenly become all too real. Fred, Con, Lila and Max are stranded without hope of rescue, and their chance of getting home feels terrifying small. The pilot dies and the children are forced to survive alone for days until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city and a secret. Except, it seems someone has been there before them...
This book was fast-paced, warm and descriptive. Themes such as resilience, survival, adventure, hope and friendship are developed as the book unfolds. The words used by Rundell allow you to feel the heat of the jungle, taste the unusual foods including tarantula eggs, share the highs and lows the children experience and see friendships develop between children who are all extremely different. It would make a fantastic read aloud, but it is not for the faint hearted as it is 399 pages, but the text is relatively large. I can imagine a class completing some amazing visualisation activities based on the rich, descriptive language Rundell uses. This is a must-have in the library.