Most people who love books know that Katherine Rundell is an accomplished writer. Her prose is swift to read and littered with seeds which germinate in your imagination. Having just finished writing Battle of the Beetles, which is set in the Amazon rainforest, I was excited and slightly scared of reading her new book The Explorer. I was unable to afford the time or the money to go to the Amazon in person, so all of the research I did for my final beetle book was in libraries, online or in my study. I had read that Katherine actually went to the Amazon in preparation for writing this book, and I was so excited to see how she'd interpreted that experience in words.
The Explorer doesn't disappoint. The story begins with a plane crash and four children being stranded in the Amazon. The lush greenery of the rainforest is evoked deftly and creates a lasting landscape in your head. Katherine loves to describe food in her books, and the food the Amazon provides is unusual and sometimes unpalatable, and these were my favourite bits. The hunger and the unusual meals are beautifully described. It's impossible not to love the baby sloth in the story, but I also really enjoyed the character of the explorer, he was complex, intriguing and a bit frightening in the best of ways.
My favourite Rundell book is still The Wolf Wilder, but The Explorer is a great addition to her rich and varied list of children's stories. If you haven't read her books yet, then you need to.