Friday, 28 August 2015

Amy Wild: Amazon Summer by Helen Skelton (Children's, 9 years +, 10/10E)

 May 2015, Random House Children's Publishers, 304 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Content: jungle creatures, fear, lots of danger, a bit of humour

Amy Wild is in trouble again - and this time, her parents decide enough is enough. Amy is going to stay out of trouble over the summer by going on a trip with batty Auntie Marg - a photographer, who travels all around the world to dangerous, exciting places. That's how Amy's ended up here: Iquitos, Peru.

The problem is, staying out of trouble just doesn't seem to happen when Amy's around. When Auntie Marg is involved in an accident, Amy has to escape into the Amazon rainforest, with no clothes, no food, no money, and no map. She's got to face spiders, poisonous plants, legends of evil spirits – and something even more sinister. All she has is Juan, a local boy with a mysterious scar, who’s definitely
hiding a secret . . .

Nayu's thoughts 
The high grade is a bit of a surprise considering how much I disliked Amy. I found her selfish, inconsiderate, her inability to think through the consequences of her actions lead her and others into danger – not just a little danger, but potentially life threatening danger. This isn't good in the depths of the jungle where both flora, fauna, and spirits are out to get her. She continually makes mistakes, although it has to be said she does try hard to set things right. There's a fair amount of information slipped into the story which may inspire readers to learn more about the Amazon and rain forest conservation in general. 

Amidst the danger there is some humour and sweet moments as Amy makes friends who I was sad to say goodbye to, and with the help from NAME she manages to make a small difference to the world. There are appearances from infamous animals such as the piranhas, pink dolphins and crocodiles as well as others less known. I both look forward to and dread what Amy's next adventure will involve! It's cool that she got to go away with her aunt, although she doesn't fully appreciate how much effort she needs to put in to have the fun parts of the holiday. This story missed a perfect grade because the ending was a bit too neat and easy – I'd have liked the truth to be known, but it was still good. 

Available at bookstores including NRC affiliate Foyles.  

Suggested read
Another adventure filled read with nicer main characters and a few jungle creatures is The Time Hunters by  Carl Ashmore (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

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