Doug Wilson has written the Tom Hassler series of children’s books, and now he turns his attention to a survival tale set in New Zealand. Twelve-year-old Rachel and her ten-year-old brother Sam are home alone with their dog Choky when Central North Island is shaken by a series of earthquakes. Mount Ruapehu erupts, and then Lake Taupo follows. Their parents and grandparents are frantic with worry. After a phone call, they know the children are alive, but rescue workers can’t get access to their house to save them. As the world blows up around them, it sees their chances of survival growing less optimistic by the minute.
But then Guld, a strange looking small man, lands on their doorstep. ‘He was covered with rough, crusty skin, and wore nothing except a weird kind of loin cloth that looked like it was made out of lizard skin. He looked as though he had been carved out of a rock, with a very blunt knife. Everything about him was red.’ In order to save them, Guld convinces the children that their only hope is to venture into the very heart of the volcano.
Taupo Blows is a fast-paced survival story that will engage readers, as Rachel and Sam, and their trusty dog Choky, set out on the adventure of their lives, all the while as the world as they know it explodes around them.
It’s wonderful to read a story set in Taupo, even if the situation is terrifying. Rachel and Sam are likable characters who you care for. The premise of the novel is fantastical, but I’m sure will be enjoyed by many children. A great read, that is dedicated to ‘kids everywhere who love a mad, action adventure story, where both boys and girls can be heroes.’ The author certainly delivers on his promise.