Elastic Island Adventures: Port Mugaloo by Karen McMillan
The second in an exciting series of books for children, Port Mugaloo is another action-packed adventure set in the South Pacific. Four children – Kiri, Jed, and twins Emma and Ethan – discover an ‘elastic’ island that can send them pinging across the ocean to a variety of tropical island destinations.
Their last destination spelt trouble, so this time the children are determined to have a relaxed and safe time. Port Mugaloo, on Muga Muga Island, seems to fit the bill.
But when Ethan falls into a pool and becomes invisible, the children find themselves on a cross-island adventure on a mission. King Shiny is the only one that can help Ethan, but he’s gone missing looking for long-lost treasure. A cute Quokka family are enlisted to help the children return home, but Mrs Quokka and her logic could prove to be more trouble than she is worth.
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.
A map of Muga Muga Island at the start of the book helps orientate readers, while there’s more hilarious Quokka logic at the back of the book for additional laughs.
There’s also a nice homage to McMillan’s mother included in the end pages - Mrs Quokka’s lemon cake recipe.
With the third book due next year, the Elastic Island series has been optioned by a movie producer who is in the initial stages of developing the first book into a feature film.
Port Mugaloo continues the exciting adventure of the Elastic Island. With a lovely undercurrent about the importance of friendship, it’s a great book to keep the reading bug alive for younger readers.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Duckling Publishing, RRP $19.99