Mermaids Rock: The Floating Forest
Linda Chapman, illustrated by Mirelle Ortega
This is the second title in Linda Chapman’s Mermaids Rock series featuring some animal-loving mer friends. They have formed their own special Save the Sea Creatures Club, their aim being to come to the aid of animals in trouble.
As the story starts Coralie and Dash enter a whirlpool and find themselves in a wonderful forest with sea lions. Therein Coralie discovers among the fronds a bottle containing what looks like a rolled up message.
On returning to her friends she learns from Marina (whose dad is a marine scientist) that the place she’s just visited is a kelp forest. The others are eager to see it too so they schedule a visit the following day.
In the meantime Naya manages to open the bottle; inside is a map with a rhyming message.
Next day with 4 clues to solve, operation treasure hunt begins.
But one of their classmates, the sneaky Glenda is determined to find out what the others are up to and starts watching their every move.
The following week when the club members return to their search they discover that the kelp forest has been destroyed leaving the animals unprotected and in great danger.
Saving them becomes much more important than the treasure hunt but can they do it before it’s too late?
Mirelle Ortega’s expressive illustrations add further interest to the narrative and help break up the text for newly independent readers.
After the story are pages with information about the kelp forests and the animals living there, as well as some marine-related jokes.
A tale that’s ideal for young nature-lovers and environmentalists who like their adventures bubbling with mermaid magic.
For slightly older readers, also the second in a series:
The Time Travel Diaries: Adventure in Athens
With her outstanding, expert knowledge of classical history and superb storytelling skill, Caroline Lawrence immerses readers in ancient Athens circa 400BCE when her heroes Alex and Dinu, on a luxury holiday in Athens, time travel – at the behest of Solomon Daisy – to the time of Socrates. Unbeknown to the boys, Dinu’s younger sister has followed them through the time-travel portal and is also swept up in the adventure.
It’s no time at all before having arrived at the Temple of Athena, Alex and Dinu are taken by the Scythian archers – the equivalent of the police in ancient Athens.
As with the previous book, the story is pacey, gripping and rich in historical detail.
Here’s what Daniel (nearly 11) thought:
‘This book was action-packed and a great read. The plot involves a group of characters who travel back in time in search of Socrates, the wisest man in the world. The main characters are really interesting because of their individual personalities.
Through their journey we learn about an ancient time and some historical dates. My favourite part is when the main characters go inside a public house and they play music through holes in a bone.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to 9-11 year olds.‘