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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Elastic Island Adventures: Rarotonga by Karen McMillan

Kiri, Jed and twins Emma and Ethan frequently journey via Elastic Island, a unique way of travelling that sends them pinging across the ocean to a variety of tropical destinations. This time, they travel with Blong the Cat and Heathcliff the Dog to beautiful Rarotonga. While the children are expecting a relaxing holiday in the sun, it's not long until they run into problems.

All the black pearls on the island are stolen in a brazen heist, the thief leaving clues scattered around the island. The children are determined to solve the clues, but even with the help of the wise Mana Tiaki, will they be successful and will the people of Rarotonga ever see their precious black pearls again?

Author Karen McMillan takes readers on another action-packed adventure in this seventh book of the Elastic Island Adventures series. As before, Rarotonga is a stand-alone book, with the series able to be read singularly or out of order.

McMillan has the mix of information just right - with enough to allow new readers a solid understanding of each character, but not so much as to bore those already familiar with the series.

As fans know, there's always a quirky animal character in each book and this time readers are introduced to Mighty Moko. The grumpy gecko is a fun addition that will have readers laugh out loud at his antics.

The children are also, as usual, individual and relatable. Each has their own unique character, and there's a nice lesson within the story about the importance of embracing everyone's strengths and working together to solve problems.

It's a great book for children venturing into the world of chapter books, with snappy chapters and design features to break up pages of text. It's also a wonderful book to read aloud together, especially for those less confident readers.

The book is set in real-life Rarotonga, offering up lots of Cook Islands' history and culture in a creative, fun way. Setting it in a real place made it easier for my younger readers to relate to and engage with the story than the earlier Elastic Island Adventures outings. McMillan has done her research and the story has been read and approved by Cook Island Tourism. I can see the many Kiwi families who travel to the island using this as a realistic fiction guidebook.

Elastic Island Adventures: Rarotonga is another fast-paced, action-packed page-turner readers have come to know and love with the series.

Duckling Publishing Reviewed by Rebekah Lyell


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