Pearly and Pig and the lost city of Mu Savan by Sue Whiting

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Pearly and Pig’s second action packed adventure is into an Asian jungle looking for the lost city of Mu Savan. Before Pearly was born her parents and grandfather spent time in the village of Ban Noa searching for Mu Savan and made friends with King Alung Chu. Now the Woe family are trying again.  After a long journey they travel along the Mekong River by longboat, only to find Ban Noa is no more. A huge band of monkeys nearly turn them back but luckily one little monkey takes them to the new site of Ban Noa. However, things are not right in the village. King Alung Chu is missing and his brother King Foom Chu blames the Woe’s for upsetting nature. Pig’s mother The Divine Sow is very ill and strange rumbling noises at night are scaring the villagers. 

Luckily Pearly has a gift for languages, including talking to animals. This gives her a lot of useful information and helps the Woe family get to the bottom of what is going on. Despite her self-doubt (and there’s a lot!) she proves once again she is the best Adventurologist in the family.  

There’s plenty of action, great characters and a whiff of Indiana Jones in this novel. Pig is an endearing character who any child would want as their friend. Pearly is a worrier but she remembers to refocus in stressful events and recalls the rules for young Adventurologists to guide her decisions. The evil doers are dispatched with in a suitably just fashion. The story’s underlying message is about being resourceful, smart and brave. It is also about adults allowing their children to take risks and trust them. This is a terrific positive story and will make a great read-aloud as a class novel for early primary years students. There is a lot of potential for creative learning spin offs from it. Readers who enjoy Miss Mary Kate’s Guide to Monsters series are certain to like this series about Pearly.

Themes: Bravery, Jungles, Greed.

Jo Marshall