The Explorer
Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are on their way back to England from Manaus when the plane they’re on crashes and the pilot dies upon landing. For days they survive alone, until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city, and to a secret.

The Explorer Details

TitleThe Explorer
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 12th, 2017
PublisherSimon Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139781481419451
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Adventure, Picture Books, Fiction, Survival

The Explorer Review

  • Hannah Greendale
    January 1, 1970
    Fred is on a six-seater plane headed to England from Manaus when the pilot stops breathing. The airplane crashes into the canopy of the Amazon jungle, and Fred later wakes in the wreckage to discover that he and three other children are alive but lost. With no hope of being found or getting home, they go in search of food and shelter. Before long they discover something that suggests they’re not alone in the jungle . . . It’s admirable that Rundell has written a story that’s not entirely compris Fred is on a six-seater plane headed to England from Manaus when the pilot stops breathing. The airplane crashes into the canopy of the Amazon jungle, and Fred later wakes in the wreckage to discover that he and three other children are alive but lost. With no hope of being found or getting home, they go in search of food and shelter. Before long they discover something that suggests they’re not alone in the jungle . . . It’s admirable that Rundell has written a story that’s not entirely comprised of white children; however, all four children are exceedingly one-dimensional. Fred is brave, Lila is smart, Con is a brat, and disobedient Max has an endless supply of snot leaking from his nose. Throughout the book, their personalities are cemented; any growth or change is infinitesimal.Fred and his new friends navigate the jungle with relative ease, stumbling from one convenient resolution to the next. With their problems so easily solved, and the mystery effortlessly unveiled, The Explorer fails to give the sense that the children are ever in serious danger, and the lack of intrigue weakens the narrative. Despite the unfortunate absence of suspense, Rundell makes up for the bland narrative by occasionally employing vivid language to describe the jungle: The greenness, which had seemed such a forbidding wall of color, was not, up close, green at all, Fred thought. It was a thousand different colors: lime and emerald and moss and jade and a deep, dark, almost black green that made him think of sunken ships. The ground was mossy, speckled with patches of grass and creeper. One of the trees had scarlet flowers, which had fallen and red-carpeted the forest floor. With peripheral characters and brisk plot-pacing, The Explorer is an unremarkable tale of friendship and discovery.
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  • Kiran Hargrave
    January 1, 1970
    I have FEELINGS about this book. It's full of Rundell's trademark warmth, wit, & staggering scene setting - you feel the heat of the jungle, taste the kids' fear & hope, all the myriad details - & the utter exuberance of the adventure is joyful. I love every one of Rundell's stories but she gets more assured each time - this was everything I wanted it to be & more. Read it. It's for you, even if you don't think it is. Glorious.
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  • Simon
    January 1, 1970
    Fred, Lila, Max and Con all end up lost survivors of a plane crash in the Amazon forest, how will they survive? What follows is a delightful adventure story as we follow their mildly perilous journey to try and get home. I loved that this was both a nod to adventure stories of the victorians as well as an ode to those explorers who vanished in the past. Sadly once ‘The Explorer’ turned up I lost my love a tiny bit as he started to impart more life/moral lessons than survival which slightly knock Fred, Lila, Max and Con all end up lost survivors of a plane crash in the Amazon forest, how will they survive? What follows is a delightful adventure story as we follow their mildly perilous journey to try and get home. I loved that this was both a nod to adventure stories of the victorians as well as an ode to those explorers who vanished in the past. Sadly once ‘The Explorer’ turned up I lost my love a tiny bit as he started to impart more life/moral lessons than survival which slightly knocked the edge of and also showed kids still need adults to succeed, not always the case. A small quibble, but one I wanted to mention, in a book that kept me throughly entertained and enjoyed a lot.
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  • Katerina Kondrenko
    January 1, 1970
    5.5 out of 10 I compare this story with middle grade books from my childhood (I mean Treasure Island and such) and The Explorer is not that good. I wanted more danger situations, more of friendship and adventure.
  • Bridget
    January 1, 1970
    What a gloriously wonderful book. The completely absorbing story of four children whose plane crashes in the Amazon jungle, they are utterly alone and learn to survive using common sense and good luck. The pace is great, the things that happen to the children all seem to fit with the situation even though they are completely fantastic. They decide to try to get home using a map they've found, strap a raft together using intuition and set off to try and escape their situation. The river carries t What a gloriously wonderful book. The completely absorbing story of four children whose plane crashes in the Amazon jungle, they are utterly alone and learn to survive using common sense and good luck. The pace is great, the things that happen to the children all seem to fit with the situation even though they are completely fantastic. They decide to try to get home using a map they've found, strap a raft together using intuition and set off to try and escape their situation. The river carries them to meet The Explorer, a man with no name and a mysterious past. He is vastly irritated to have these children turn up in his space but ends up being their saviour. The detail in the book is just wonderful, the food that they children survive on, tarantula eggs and other jungle treats! The sounds of the animals and birds are beautifully described. The writing just carries you away into the world of the Amazon. There are lots of wonderful moments. The children are perfectly described and The Explorer is so cleverly done, the lonely man with no need for the outside world an fighting to right the damage that has been done to the environment. I found myself highlighting lots of lovely passages. I found myself quite emotional at time the story quite moved me, the parting words of The Explorer as the children begin their journey back to civilisation are just gorgeous. 'And all of you - do not forget that, lost out here, you were brave even in your sleep. Do not forget to take risks. Standing ovations await your bravery,' Con swallowed. 'But I'm afraid,' she whispered. The Explorer nodded, scarred and dusty and matter-of-fact. 'You are right to be afraid. Be brave anyway.'Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for giving me access to this book. I'll be buying multiple copies for school, the students who've loved survival stories like Hatchet will love this.
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  • Robin Stevens
    January 1, 1970
    Katherine is one of the best writers in children's literature at the moment, and this is another tour de force from her. Lush, beautifully imagined, heartfelt, wildly exciting, it transported me to the Amazon and made me live with its characters until the end (although I was crying so hard during the last ten pages that I may have missed small details). Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Bravo! 8+*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material Katherine is one of the best writers in children's literature at the moment, and this is another tour de force from her. Lush, beautifully imagined, heartfelt, wildly exciting, it transported me to the Amazon and made me live with its characters until the end (although I was crying so hard during the last ten pages that I may have missed small details). Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Bravo! 8+*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you!*
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARc from Netgalley.comFour children flying back to England in a vague post WWII period crash in the Amazon when their pilot has a fatal medical issue. From there, Fred, Con, Lila, and her five year old brother Max have to try to make it to get help in Manaus, Brazil. Along the way, they find clues in small tins, try to survive on the water and food they find, and adopt a baby sloth. Eventually, they find another human, but he is an irritable man who is still grieving over his lostv wife and ch E ARc from Netgalley.comFour children flying back to England in a vague post WWII period crash in the Amazon when their pilot has a fatal medical issue. From there, Fred, Con, Lila, and her five year old brother Max have to try to make it to get help in Manaus, Brazil. Along the way, they find clues in small tins, try to survive on the water and food they find, and adopt a baby sloth. Eventually, they find another human, but he is an irritable man who is still grieving over his lostv wife and child, and barely helps them. When young Max becomes gravely ill, he finally decides to help the children by showing Fred how to fly a plane he has stored. Strengths: This had a lot of good details about the flora and fauna in the Amazon, and the steps one might need to take in order to survive there. There's a decent amount of introspection about the life to which the children will return, and the visit with the Explorer has its moments of intrigue.Weaknesses: By page 100, I was ready to cook Max for supper, and by page 200, I was ready for everyone to perish in the wilderness, including the Explorer. Rundell seems to write characters whom I personally dislike, for qualities other people seem to fine charming. What I really think: Everyone else seems to think that this is So Much More Than an Ordinary Survival Story, but... meh. It was fine, but nothing spectacular.
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  • Kaethe
    January 1, 1970
    Just the book for fans of My Side of the Mountain and Hatchet. I am glad I have read the Lost City of Z: I still have a bit of Amazonia in my mind. It's such a thrilling adventure with just enough humor, and I love the way Rundell has with description. She managed to convey quite a bit of what bugs and spiders taste like.Library copy
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  • E L E A N O R (bookishcourtier)
    January 1, 1970
    2018 CARNEGIE LONGLIST BOOK 17/203.75 This had all the warmth and wit of Katherine Rundell’s previous books. I adored Rooftoppers, and I liked this one too. Perhaps not as much, though - this one didn’t feel quite as effortlessly funny and unique. However, that being said, my overall experience of reading this book was pure enjoyment, and I think it is a book that lots of young readers will really love. I would say that this is a children’s book written with children in mind. I think Rundell’s 2018 CARNEGIE LONGLIST BOOK 17/203.75 This had all the warmth and wit of Katherine Rundell’s previous books. I adored Rooftoppers, and I liked this one too. Perhaps not as much, though - this one didn’t feel quite as effortlessly funny and unique. However, that being said, my overall experience of reading this book was pure enjoyment, and I think it is a book that lots of young readers will really love. I would say that this is a children’s book written with children in mind. I think Rundell’s biggest talent is her lush, quirky writing. Immediately present from the first pages, the writing is a beautiful compliment to the story, and perfect for readers of all ages. The charming humour is woven into the prose with a lot of skill, and it brought back memories of reading Rooftoppers, which was a completely different story but had a similar story. Rundell’s writing is easy to spot - it is bright and bold and colourful and fun. I also think that this book as effective with the fast paced story line. It is a relatively long book, but the story is swooping and really makes it a quick read. This is something that you can just sit down and get all the way through. I also think it would make a perfect read out loud story. Although I can definitely see the story is aimed at younger kids, as there never really seems to be that much of a threat, and the dangers of the jungle are never really present. This is a light positive read that will make you smile. I do think that in places it was trying a little too hard to be bold and bright. Some of the scenes and funny moments felt a little unnatural. And sometimes they were overcrowded, which I think was an attempt to try and make the book as quirky as possible. Paired with extremely bold setting, this was just a bit too much for me, though I know some readers will adore that kind of stuff. I wasn’t 100% impressed with the characters either. The whole thing is told from Fred’s POV, which can get a little tiring when you realise that you are stuck with a book that is just a brave, heroic, stereotype. The two girls didn’t really step outside of their allocated boxes much either - though I did like Con. And Max grew a little grating after reading about the same irrating things that he did over 300 pages. All in all, I thought this was fun ride. Not as good as Rooftoppers, but still a book I think that many people will love. Rundell’s lovely writing is all there, and though this was maybe trying a bit too hard, I think some readers won’t mind that. I liked this book, and left it feeling pretty satisfied.
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  • Karina Dewi
    January 1, 1970
    I’m so glad that I finally got rid of my reading slump and all thanks to this book! The Explorer is about four children, Fred, Lila, Con, and Max, who had an aircraft accident and got stranded in the Amazon Jungle. And the book is telling a story about how these four kids survived in the jungle, despite all the challenges and troubles.I don’t want to get too much into the spoiler zone, but this book is written so beautifully and in such a way that makes me feel like I’m also in the adventure wit I’m so glad that I finally got rid of my reading slump and all thanks to this book! The Explorer is about four children, Fred, Lila, Con, and Max, who had an aircraft accident and got stranded in the Amazon Jungle. And the book is telling a story about how these four kids survived in the jungle, despite all the challenges and troubles.I don’t want to get too much into the spoiler zone, but this book is written so beautifully and in such a way that makes me feel like I’m also in the adventure with them. And even if it’s a middle grade book, I still think that adults like me could very much enjoy the book. It even triggered my curiosity about Amazon jungle and the river, and I ended up watching a full 30 minutes of documentary about the jungle on Youtube (which has successfully made me terrified of Anaconda 😐).What is also interesting about this book is that the timeline is ambiguous. The author didn’t really set the story on a certain period of time, but from the background of the story and from the author’s note about the explorer in the end of the book, I’m guessing it’s around 1920-1930s. Overall, I recommend this book to everyone who likes to read about adventure, friendship, love and how scary Amazon can be. Moral of the story? Don’t get lost in the Amazon 😂Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing for giving me this book for free in exchange for a review, and if you’re living in Indonesia you can get this book in Periplus Book Store or online here: https://www.periplus.com/p/9781408882...
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  • Booklunatic
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsNice story, beautifully illustrated. But it can't measure up to the wonderful "Rooftoppers"...
  • Michele Knott
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic adventure book. What I love about Katherine Rundell's books is the way they tell an amazing tale, yet weaves in themes ideas that make you think about how you do things. Hand this book to kids who love Hatchet and Watt Key's books.
  • Mathew
    January 1, 1970
    I should be saying that I think Rundell is one of our finest and I hope she stays in the field of children's literature and does not leave. She has a style and heart which is so well suited to the genre - she never writes down and she writes with passion and humour which children will intrinsically love. Yet, the Explorer wasn't as strong, for me, as some of her other work - notably The Wolf Wilder, which is one of my favourites. I think I struggled to understand what the story was about - wheth I should be saying that I think Rundell is one of our finest and I hope she stays in the field of children's literature and does not leave. She has a style and heart which is so well suited to the genre - she never writes down and she writes with passion and humour which children will intrinsically love. Yet, the Explorer wasn't as strong, for me, as some of her other work - notably The Wolf Wilder, which is one of my favourites. I think I struggled to understand what the story was about - whether it was one of conservation or one of voyage and return. The concept itself was wonderful and I have no doubt that children will love getting lost in the jungle with Fred, Lila, Max and Con but I just couldn't connected with the characters themselves and wanted to - characters are what Rundell excels at. This is not to say that I did not enjoy it - I did and know that children will too but there wasn't the depth and drive in Rundell's characters that is usually there - was this because there was a greater focus on the character of the Amazon itself?
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  • Jensen Little Free Library
    January 1, 1970
    Meh. I really really wanted to like this more but it is definitely not a favorite. While the prose about the GREEN rainforest is lovely. I might have enjoyed it more if it was about half as long and not every object was described in detail and given human qualities. Did I mention that everything is green... VERY green?It's the Amazon versus four kids stranded in a plane crash. Most of the time I was rooting for the Amazon. Hashtag Team Amazon. Go Team! Con and Max are two of the most unlikeable Meh. I really really wanted to like this more but it is definitely not a favorite. While the prose about the GREEN rainforest is lovely. I might have enjoyed it more if it was about half as long and not every object was described in detail and given human qualities. Did I mention that everything is green... VERY green?It's the Amazon versus four kids stranded in a plane crash. Most of the time I was rooting for the Amazon. Hashtag Team Amazon. Go Team! Con and Max are two of the most unlikeable characters ever but not in the fun "I love to hate them" kind of way. I just wanted to feed them both to the phiranha.What whiny (snot-nosed, literally) five year old boy says "he smells like a bad idea" or the older Fred saying " his accent... belonged among good tailoring and fast motorcars." Really? I just rolled my eyes. I much prefered Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. We read his entire series for homeschool. I can't see a single one of my boys reading this survival story. I hate bad reviews. They make me cranky, especially when others "LOVED IT."3/5⭐ #review #middlegradefiction #bookstagram #kids #goodreadsandme #booksofinstagram #books #goodreads
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  • Matt Davies
    January 1, 1970
    I will admit that when I heard the premise of this book, I did think it may be a Lord of the Flies for a younger audience. Some children are caught in an air disaster and end up fighting for survival in a remote location. There are, of course, many similarities between The Explorer and Golding’s classic, but as the narrative unfolds you will find The Explorer deserves every credit it has received.What is refreshing about this book is that it is a good old-fashioned adventure, straight out of the I will admit that when I heard the premise of this book, I did think it may be a Lord of the Flies for a younger audience. Some children are caught in an air disaster and end up fighting for survival in a remote location. There are, of course, many similarities between The Explorer and Golding’s classic, but as the narrative unfolds you will find The Explorer deserves every credit it has received.What is refreshing about this book is that it is a good old-fashioned adventure, straight out of the mould of Swallows and Amazons. There is no need to new fangled technologies or contrived plot twists. Instead, you are drawn into the jungle by Rundell’s narrative. While you a reading, it is your home. You become accustomed to it, the sights, the smells, the dangers. Without doubt, Rundell proves herself to have that quality of seamlessly transporting her readers to a faraway place.This is also a book filled with knowledge. It’s clear that no stone has been left unturned in Rundell’s search to create a realistic setting. The book is, in fact, packed with knowledge about the Amazon and its creatures. Moreover, there’s a clear message behind the story. We are losing our natural wonders at far too quick a rate. The rainforests are shrinking, and with them species and indigenous people are dwindling. The stark realities of this are laid bare in The Explorer for all to see. As this realities dawns on the characters, so to does it challenge the reader to think of their own values.For those who are familiar with my reviews and views, I love to see a character develop. Two characters stand out in The Explorer: the explorer and wannabe explorer Fred. Fred’s development throughout is incredible. His journey is that of a boy to a man. Not only is this a physical journey, but his mind awakens to the world around him maturing him and shaping the man he will become.This was a truly refreshing read. One that brought back memories of some of my favourite books from childhood. It is a book to savour, not to rush through in one sitting. Something to transport you to one of those places only a good book can take you to. It is a book about adventure, about friendship, about trust and about the world around us. In short, it’s a good old-fashioned yarn.
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  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a huge fan of Katherine Rundell ever since I curled up with ROOFTOPPERS on a sunny afternoon in England. And though this was very different, it... might actually be my favorite of her works to date. The world of the Amazon is brought into stark, poetic clarity--as one always expects from a book by Rundell. I had nearly forgotten how, as a kid, I was completely fascinated by the Amazon, completely engrossed in learning about survival in that part of the world. But this book reawoke al I have been a huge fan of Katherine Rundell ever since I curled up with ROOFTOPPERS on a sunny afternoon in England. And though this was very different, it... might actually be my favorite of her works to date. The world of the Amazon is brought into stark, poetic clarity--as one always expects from a book by Rundell. I had nearly forgotten how, as a kid, I was completely fascinated by the Amazon, completely engrossed in learning about survival in that part of the world. But this book reawoke all that wonder and fear and excitement. I just loved it. This is a fabulous read for any kid (or adult) who has contemplated becoming an explorer but lacked the luck of being thrust in the middle of an adventure. The characters shine on the page, each of them fiercely real. Thank you, Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for the free ARC. I can't wait to buy my own and put it on my shelf!
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  • ⟡ brittney ⟡
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this book. It's a fantastic story about friendship and adventures. The four main characters in this book -- Fred, Lila, Con, and Max -- are such vivid, raw, and real characters, and I completely adored every single one of them. This book always left me wanting more -- more of the characters, more of the story, more of everything. The Explorer was fantastic; it's characters will be staying with me for a while.
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  • MissSophie
    January 1, 1970
    Katherine Rundell's done it again! I couldn't stop reading and finished it in one day. I loved the characters, how she was describing the jungle and I may have even shed some tears because of the last two chapters... Just a beautifully written story for everyone who loves adventure-stories, with a bit of depth to it.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed it. It’s was a quick and easy read. I would of liked a little more detail at the end, another chapter that’s all it needed, just to explain a little more, but it was still good.Loved all the characters! The illustrations are amazing! It’s worth to read it just for that, haha.
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  • Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this but the narrative is incredibly slow and the intended middle grade audience might not have the patience as the narrative shuffles along.
  • Dom Conlon
    January 1, 1970
    Breathtaking. Beautiful. A book which sets its own pace and follows its own rules. Deeply welcome.
  • Eva
    January 1, 1970
    This is a thoroughly splendid book and it made me cry at least three times.
  • Suzanne Dix
    January 1, 1970
    A fantastic adventure and survival story! 4 children are flying over the Amazon when their pilot has a heart attack. The plane crashes and miraculously all 4 children survive. How will they ever get back home? This is full of terror (caimans and piranhas and poisonous ants) but also full of heart. You grow to love these kids and their adopted sloth. Highly recommended for grades 5 and up.
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  • Latkins
    January 1, 1970
    This is an exciting children's adventure story, about a group of four children who find themselves alone in the Amazon jungle after their plane crashes. Fred has always wanted to be an explorer, but is a bit scared to have his dream come true so quickly. Con, initially moody and unimpressed by their predicament, proves to have hidden skills, as does the more practical and forthright Brazilian girl Lila, who has her hands full looking after her little brother, the erratic Max. Much more Swallows This is an exciting children's adventure story, about a group of four children who find themselves alone in the Amazon jungle after their plane crashes. Fred has always wanted to be an explorer, but is a bit scared to have his dream come true so quickly. Con, initially moody and unimpressed by their predicament, proves to have hidden skills, as does the more practical and forthright Brazilian girl Lila, who has her hands full looking after her little brother, the erratic Max. Much more Swallows & Amazons than Lord of the Flies, as the children come together to help each other, getting over all their petty arguments and squabbles, this is nonetheless a compelling tale with an important underlying message about cooperation and conservation. I liked the fact that it was clearly set some time in the past, but that this didn't really matter, as you can relate the to characters easily. Great stuff!
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  • Sarah Pickles
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve just come back from the Amazon jungle - well at least after reading Rundell’s The Explorer it certainly feels that way. I can almost taste the sweat and the smell of roasted birds and fish .’The Explorer’ is an exciting tale of caimans, tarantulas, piranhas and four ‘undercooked adults’ who have crashed in the Amazon, and the struggles of the four children to be brave, be friends, and ultimately to survive. I loved ‘Rooftoppers’, ‘Wolf Wilder’ and ‘Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms’ and this di I’ve just come back from the Amazon jungle - well at least after reading Rundell’s The Explorer it certainly feels that way. I can almost taste the sweat and the smell of roasted birds and fish .’The Explorer’ is an exciting tale of caimans, tarantulas, piranhas and four ‘undercooked adults’ who have crashed in the Amazon, and the struggles of the four children to be brave, be friends, and ultimately to survive. I loved ‘Rooftoppers’, ‘Wolf Wilder’ and ‘Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms’ and this didn’t disappoint. Rundell says that in writing this story she wanted to remind children that they can be brave and this is a great adventure that kids will surely love. I connected with the book’s message that "Every human on this earth is an explorer." As an avid traveller I couldn’t agree more but I always thought I had no survival skills and after reading this novel I know I wouldn’t stand five minutes if I had been in their place. Rundell’s language and humour are two elements that I really enjoy in her novels and this was no exception. I always enjoy being transported through Rundell's rich descriptive prose to exotic locations, whether Southern Africa, the Russian snow or Parisian rooftops, and now the Amazon jungle. I loved the explorer’s appeal to the children, ‘When you get home, tell them how large the world is, and how green. And tell them that the beauty of the world makes demands on you. They will need reminding. If you believe the world is small and tawdry, it is easier to be so yourself. But the world is so tall and so beautiful a place." Amen! Let us all keep exploring and appreciating the vastness and beauty of the world! Thank you @NetGalley for the ARC! I have already ordered it for @PIELibrary and know our international students/explorers will love it!
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    THE EXPLORER is not your typical adventure story. Yes, a plane crashes in the Amazon jungle (Hatchet-style), stranding four kids who try to make their way home. But along the way Rundell reminds us that the most important exploring is that of the inner world, so that we might pay closer attention to the wonders of the world around us. Her prose is palpable, and each character (down to little Baca the sloth) is superbly sketched. If I didn't know it before, I know it now--Rundell is THE master of THE EXPLORER is not your typical adventure story. Yes, a plane crashes in the Amazon jungle (Hatchet-style), stranding four kids who try to make their way home. But along the way Rundell reminds us that the most important exploring is that of the inner world, so that we might pay closer attention to the wonders of the world around us. Her prose is palpable, and each character (down to little Baca the sloth) is superbly sketched. If I didn't know it before, I know it now--Rundell is THE master of middle grade.
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  • Jim From YAYeahYeah
    January 1, 1970
    This was my most anticipated book of the year and absolutely lived up to my expectations. A historical MG novel following four children whose plane crashes in the Amazon jungle when their pilot has a heart attack, it's as lyrical as ever from my favourite current author. All of the characters are brilliantly rendered, the setting is so vivid I could practically taste it, and the book tackles hugely important themes of bravery, friendship, trust, man's relationship to nature, and the importance o This was my most anticipated book of the year and absolutely lived up to my expectations. A historical MG novel following four children whose plane crashes in the Amazon jungle when their pilot has a heart attack, it's as lyrical as ever from my favourite current author. All of the characters are brilliantly rendered, the setting is so vivid I could practically taste it, and the book tackles hugely important themes of bravery, friendship, trust, man's relationship to nature, and the importance of hope, love and of looking after each other. Best of the year so far for me, and joins Rooftoppers and The Wolf Wilder, also by Rundell, in my all-time top 10.
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  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    One of my favorite novels of the year for middle-grade readers--bravery, cleverness, beauty, nature, friendship--the story of four children stranded in the Amazon. This is one I will reread and give as a gift. I'd give it 6 stars if I could.
  • Carolina (fictionologyst)
    January 1, 1970
    I have never been surprised by a book as much as this book did to me! This book was recommended by a dear friend of mine, she rarely read Children/Middle Grade book but for some reasons she gave this book a try and she was blown away. So she was really excited to introduce me to this book because she knew I love Children/Middle Grade book. But I wasn’t sure if I’m gonna like it because I usually read fantasy, and knowing that this entire book is about an adventure in Amazon really make me questi I have never been surprised by a book as much as this book did to me! This book was recommended by a dear friend of mine, she rarely read Children/Middle Grade book but for some reasons she gave this book a try and she was blown away. So she was really excited to introduce me to this book because she knew I love Children/Middle Grade book. But I wasn’t sure if I’m gonna like it because I usually read fantasy, and knowing that this entire book is about an adventure in Amazon really make me question what’s so interesting about it. But boy was I wrong! I’m so glad I took her advice and just read it without any expectation! Because in the end this book shock the bejeezus out of me!This book is about Fred, Lila, Max, and Con. Four children who were on six-seated aeroplane from Manaus to England before the pilot had a heart attack and the plane dive straight into the Amazon. The children are wounded and traumatize, but alive and also lost in the jungle. In order to get home, they have to survive the jungle.You probably wonder how boring it must be to read 300-ish pages of children surviving in the jungle, well guess what, I did too! But once you read about these children and follow their adventure, you could never stop reading until the end.They have to find food, build shelter, survive the weather and whatever dangerous creature there might be in the wild jungle of Amazon with little knowledge they had about survival.The pace is rather slow and I normally hate slow pace book but I was surprised by how I enjoy the pace because I’m too caught up on their adventure.Fred is a very brave kid (or at least he excel at pretending to be brave) and he’s the oldest among the lost kids. He tries so hard to get them home and he always gave his friends emotional support even though he’s also scare as shit. Lila is the smart one, her parents are scientist and she knows so many things about animal kingdom which is a very useful knowledge for them to survive but I also find her too perfect for a character, she seems to know everything and it makes the adventure looks easy. Max is Lila’s younger brother, he’s 5 year old but he’s got a big curiousity, Max character is inconsistence, one time he cried so hard because he’s afraid, another time he explore the jungle alone, just in a matter of days. I find this sudden shift in his character is weird, and he’s an annoying little kid, seriously does little kids are always annoying? And the last character is Con, now Con is an amazing three dimensional characters, unlike the other three. At the beginning of the book Con is a brat and I hate her so much I’m glad she’s stranded in Amazon and never to be found again, but as I learned more about her character she’s actually pretty good and a kind-hearted person, she’s very well developed and I love how Con turned out to be.All the characters has very different background story, and I love reading everyones’s story. The story somehow connect all of the kids together.I also love the slow burning friendship between the children, to watch them mentally and psychologically change throughout the story is very satisfying. Sure there were times when I want to strangle some of the kids because they’re too annoying and selfish but in the end, they came to their sense and just work it out together.The main reason why I love the slow pace of this book is because I was too captivated by the Amazon. There are a lot of forest in my country and I’m not fond of them, but Katherine describe Amazon as this amazing green heaven (except for the scary creatures). What I love about this book is, it’s not only entertaining but also very educational. We get to know so many plants, animals, and also a few tricks of survival (in case you lost in Amazon too, but let’s hope that would never happen).The adventure is fun to follow. One thing that I didn’t like is it’s lack the sense of danger, they’re trying to survive in Amazon but everything seems so easy like they’ve been in that situation before.Katherine Rundell’s writing is very very beautiful. It’s one of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read in a book. She describes the Amazon with such flowery language that make me easier to picture it in my mind. And for once I actually LOVE the flowery style of writing, because I usually despise them for being overdescriptive. I have no further comment on her writing style, it’s just briliant!This book is not just about an adventure and survival but also friendship, relationship between children and parent, finding yourself, and what it means to coming home. This is a beautiful book that I’d recommend to everyone of any age. I’d definitely buy another books by this author.
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  • LH Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    A brief moment of context.I didn't wholly connect with The Wolf Wilder as much as I did with the rhapsodic and blissful joy of Rooftoppers, and so The Explorer was a book that I read with a little bit of nervousness. Rundell is transcendent, capable of paragraphs that feel like the first footsteps in new fallen snow, but sometimes I connect with her work less than I'd like to. Much of this comes back to my position as reader and my natural predilection for the things and contexts that I love. Th A brief moment of context.I didn't wholly connect with The Wolf Wilder as much as I did with the rhapsodic and blissful joy of Rooftoppers, and so The Explorer was a book that I read with a little bit of nervousness. Rundell is transcendent, capable of paragraphs that feel like the first footsteps in new fallen snow, but sometimes I connect with her work less than I'd like to. Much of this comes back to my position as reader and my natural predilection for the things and contexts that I love. The Paris of Rooftoppers, for example, is something much closer to my heart than the snowy wilderness of The Wolf Wilder and that's, perhaps, inevitable. We are readers after all, all of us, and each of us come to a book with a different story of our own. Each book will connect with a reader in ways almost unfathomable to understand. Sometimes it will hit home, and sometimes it will hit home. It's important to understand this, this aesthetic of reading, because it's something that can be almost disassociated from the stylistics of the text itself. As I said, Rundell can be transcendent, furiously so, but sometimes it's the content that fails to connect. You can appreciate something so very much, and be envious - desperately so! - of such skill, whilst also recognising the ways in which it does not wholly hit home for yourself. Though it sounds decrepit to say this, the more I read, the more I recognise the legitimacy of disconnect. You can love something. You can also recognise the beauty in something but not, perhaps, find it life-changing. So, having said that, and given you some context as to where I was for this review, The Explorer hits home for me. So beautifully, so powerfully, so genuinely so. For me this is Rundell's texture, these stories of children being bold and brilliant in the most unusual of circumstances and fighting against a world that does not seem to wholly recognise their wonder. She is an author with a childist point of view, that not only positions children as beings of power within their world but also as beings with agency. Power, for me in Rundell's work, and agency are quite different things. The ability to do something, and the actual doing of that something can often be miles apart. The love, really, that Rundell has for her characters, and the belief that they can do what they need to do. This is a story of survival, and it's one pitched for the middle grade audience, so we have moments of terror and furious delight, often tumbling together within a matter of sentences. Nothing is certain in this forest other than the love and faith and strength that friendship and belief can bring. The children are delightful, Max - the youngest - is furiously perfect, and the book sings of the sheer need to have an adventure. As one of the characters comments at one point, "You should always dress as if you might be going to the jungle. You never know when you might meet an adventure." The Explorer is touched with a little bit of madness, that feverish urge to look beyond the far brow of the horizon, and I loved it. It's a book that reminds us to be prepared for adventure, whenever and wherever it may come.
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