Illustrator: Dmitry Chizhov
‘From Karen McMillan comes Port Mugaloo, the second in her Elastic Island Adventure series aimed at kids aged 8-12. Her stories about four children going off on holiday on their own and having adventures are reminiscent of the Famous Five but these are more fantastical and told with a quirky sense of humour.’
’This second book, aimed at readers between eight and 12-years-old, is as fast-paced as its predecessor Jewel Lagoon. McMillan has paid great attention to continuity so both stories flow together seamlessly. She once again perfectly pitches the story at her audience. It is a great book for those who are newly independent readers. McMillan draws on the familiar to make sure those readers feel competent and confident. It’s also a nice book to read aloud. Parents won’t be bored, with the book ripping along at a break neck speed. Shorter chapters keep the story manageable for a spot of bedtime reading together. With deeper themes about friendship, working together, positivity and perseverance, it could also spark some nice conversations with your younger readers.’
’Miss Eight was all but bouncing off the walls with excitement when she learned that I had the second Elastic Island Adventures book for her to review with me. She had loved the first book; since we read it together, she has read it a second time on her own.
‘Having the same familiar characters was helpful because Miss Eight already knew their various quirks so could ease into the story straight away. By the time the children arrived on MugaMuga Island, she was completely immersed in the story and ready for plenty of action and fun. She was especially intrigued by the inclusion of Unputdownable Book of Mugaloo, which had chosen Emma to be its guardian. Miss Eight rather fancied herself as its guardian instead of Emma!
‘Quokka logic plays an important part in the story – the name derives from Mrs Quokka’s penchant for sharing pithy sayings, some of which are funny while others are completely meaningless. However, the inhabitants of MugaMuga Island hold them in the highest regard. Her other talent is for making lemon cake which appears to be everyone’s favourite food. Not only does the lemon cake recur throughout the book, there is even a recipe at the end – and, of course, Miss Eight had to try it as soon as we had reached the last page.
‘Mrs Quokka is their guide on the quest to find King Shiny, who has gone missing. Miss Eight was entertained by the antics of her two offspring. Because Mrs Quokka is a marsupial, they live in her pouch and pop up every now and then. The baby Joey, who occasionally emerges with his orange rattle, is cute – but the addition of his older brother, Jase, who is the epitome of a sulky teenager and leaps out of the pouch wearing his headphones and does his best to avoid any chores, is a stroke of genius. I found I was laughing along with Miss Eight every time he grumbled about being told to do something. The other thing that made Miss Eight laugh was the idea of a Blong-A-Gram.’
‘This is a very funny book and the characters are well drawn – children will enjoy this book and others in the series. We look forward eagerly to next year’s new adventures.’
Auckland author Karen McMillan is the author of 17 books, published in nine countries, a mixture of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. Karen writes the popular Elastic Island Adventure series for children, that is in early development to be made into a series of animated movies.
Karen lives in Auckland, and is currently writing the next instalment in the Elastic Island Adventures series. She has created teacher notes for each of the Elastic Island Adventure novels; these can be downloaded from Karen’s website.
Find out more about Karen and how to contact her on her author profile.