This is the third in a children’s fantasy adventure series by popular New Zealand author Karen McMillan. The four friends, Kiri, Jed, and twins Emma and Ethan once again board the Elastic Island captained by Mr Jollybowler which magically pings them across the South Pacific Ocean in no time at all. But as in their previous adventures, their hopes for a relaxing tropical holiday are soon dashed.
On arrival Rainbow Cove does look beautiful. Palm trees with radiant green leaves sway in the breeze, the sky is a brilliant blue and the buildings are painted in sunny dazzling hues. It is so picturesque they feel as if they have stepped into a painting.
The friendly locals give them a very warm welcome and shout them to a free meal. But all is far from well. They say the problems started when the frivals, purple child size creatures with exceptionally long skinny fingers and disproportionately large feet, whose responsibility it is to maintain the colours of the island began to jumble them up in a very weird way. When the locals complained that the pink grass, yellow sea, brown sky and orange trees were giving them headaches the frivals went on strike. Now the island is slowly fading to grey. Because of this the chameleons are dying.
Despite dire warnings from the locals the four are determined to get to the bottom of the problem and set off to investigate. This turns out to be a challenging and dangerous quest.
I thought this highly inventive story which Karen has again told with her quirky sense of humour would be a jolly good read for children 8 years and up.
I shared it with my ten-year-old neighbour Nina and asked for her opinion. She said she really enjoyed it as she loves adventure stories, especially those in which there is a little romance but as she put it ‘romance for children of course’.
Her favourite character was Jed, because he was kind, patient and brave and so cool! She loved reading how he made Kiri blush when she was in the cave with him, and wondered how their relationship might develop in the next book in the series.
And she loved the fact that the book had a happy ending.
Elastic Island Adventures: Rainbow Cove by Karen McMillan is published by Duckling Press. RRP $19.99.
Reviews by Lyn Potter
Parent and grandparent, Avid traveler, writer & passionate home cook