Part of my Book Bingo for this year is to read a Costa Book Awards winner. So when I was at Waterstones and this beautiful cover caught my attention, and then I saw the Costa Book Awards Winner sticker on it, I knew that this would be the one.
I didn’t realise until I started reading it that it is actually a children’s book, I’ve never really come across a children’s book thats’s 400+ pages long before, and although I can see how the story is definitely aimed at children, there were definitely many reasons why this was a great book for an adult too.
The picture that the author creates in your head is so vivid that you might as well be stranded with these four kids in the rainforest. I was so lost in the book that I didn’t realise how many pages I was turning subconsciously until I stopped for a tea break and I realised I’d read 150 pages. To me, that’s a sign of a great book, when you’re so enthralled that you sink into the pages and it becomes like a live-action film in your head.
When I’m reading a book and come across a quote that I like, I usually take a photo of it on my phone so that I can read it back later. Needless to say, my phone is peppered with quotes from this book. Some of the phrases that jumped out at me would probably have sailed over the head of a child, but sometimes left me feeling a bit stunned or made me laugh out loud.
I’ll repeat a few here:
“I just liked the idea that there’s still things that we don’t know. At school, it’s the same thing, every day. I liked that it might be all right to believe in large, mad, wild things.”
“Can’t bear moustaches myself. Grotesquery mouth-eyebrows, I always thought”
“The time will come, I hope, when the world values people as much as it values land. But for now, we do not need more men in pith helmets marching through the jungle towards us”.
“And cut only what you need. Don’t hoard. Leave enough that the tree can replenish itself. The greatest threat to living things is man, which is not a thought to make one proud”.
I won’t go into too much detail on the story itself as I would just recommend that you buy this book and read it. Either to yourself, or out loud to your children. But definitely read it, and if you’re an adult – don’t be put off by the ‘children’s book’ label – you’ll definitely get a lot out of it too.