Kiri, Jed, and twins Emma and Ethan are back for another adventure aboard an 'elastic' island that sends them pinging across the ocean to various destinations. This time their stop is Flip Flop Bay, where Bob the Blue-Footed Booby runs a flying school. While it sounds like an adventure, the children soon discover it is not all it is made out to be. Instead, it is the latest in a string of doomed ventures Bob has come up with to attract tourists to the island. Can the children come up with a winning idea to save the small fishing village from closure? And what will they do when the Dastardly Captain Crook appears?
Flip Flop Bay is the sixth book in the Elastic Island Adventures series, featuring the group of children and their exploits. The same core cast are back again, and each of the children are still a delight. Author Karen McMillan has created characters that will appeal to a range of readers. There's characteristics and traits that readers will recognise within themselves from each of the children.
Familiar characters from past books also make an appearance, including the fantastic frivals, chaotic quokka and island driver Mr Jollybowler. Blong, a homage to McMillan's own cat, is back of course, dishing up more of his Blong-A-Grams too. McMillan also introduces some new characters - including Gracie the galah, Bob (and what kid can resist a giggle at a Blue-Footed Booby?!), and Bryce the fisherboy. While new to the story, they don't feel out of place, each has a distinct personality and purpose.
Like the past Elastic Island Adventures, Flip Flop Bay is action-packed and sets a ripping pace. McMillan knows how to keep readers turning the page, with plenty of adventure, laughs and just the right amount of deep and meaningful.
If you're new to the series, Flip Flop Bay is just the start of the hijinks readers will find in this fast-paced adventure series. Each of the books in the series can be read in any order, and each are standalone reads.
I love how McMillan has worked with children to create the book; her husband's granddaughter Milla helped name the characters and offer ideas, while McMillan also ran competitions for children to have a character named after them.
This time around, an audiobook, narrated by beloved New Zealand entertainer Suzy Cato, is being released simultaneously with the paperback. This is a great option to open up the world of reading for auditory learners.
Another rollicking read of hijinks at sea, Flip Flop Bay will capture the imagination and attention of younger readers.
Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell
Duckling Publishing, RRP $19.99
Audiobook version available from: