When Fred, Con, Lila and her five-year-old brother Max are unexpectedly brought together in a plane crash into the Amazon rainforest, they are left to fend for themselves, alone. That’s until they meet the Explorer: an eccentric survival expert who they hope will lead them to safety. But the Explorer is a little different than they imagine. What is he hiding from his past, and will the children make it home alive?
On the surface, Katherine Rundell tells a treacherous adventure story: the children fish for piranhas, steal honey from an angry hive of bees and build shelter, in amongst pining for their families. But its heart lies in the friendships they build along the way, and the message that children can be just as brave and powerful as adults, and adults just as vulnerable as children.
Analytical, stony faced Con clashes with caring Lila, and Fred who is willing to give anything a go to survive, even if that means flying a plane with only one lesson’s practise. Amongst it all, Max just wants to go home, but not without chipping in to the escape effort at every opportunity.
Rundell’s word ooze Enid Blyton nostalgia and are a perfect escape from the technologically saturated world we live in. The Explorer is a tale of solidarity in the depths of the vibrant Amazon rainforest that will leave readers’ wishing for the children’s dreams to be realised.
If you’ve been inspired to read The Explorer or undertake any creative projects of your own, check out our summer reading goals list for more recommendations, or take a look at our writing prompts and inspiration pages!