BOOKBLOG: Katherine Rundell

The Explorer: incredible, adventure filled story with unexpected heroes


“Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are on their way back to England from Manaus when the plane they’re on crashes and the pilot dies upon landing. For days they survive alone, until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city, and to a secret.”

The Explorer follows the tale of 4 children who are on the plane to England from Manaus when they end up crashing in the rainforest. What ensues is an adventure like none other, written in the most perfect and captivating manner. There’s an unexpected hero, animal friends, terrifying obstacles, bravery and friendship.

I had heard a LOT of talk about this book and lots of people knew this was one to watch out for so when the people at Bloomsbury offered me a proof I knew I was in for a treat. I didn’t realise just HOW MUCH of a treat I was in for. Not only is this book an amazing take on Amazon adventures but it shows the amazing traits of kids – the awe and wonder of them, their bravery, their inquisitive nature, how bold they can be. 

There’s an unexpected hero in this book. He’s wonderful, secretive, quiet. The children learn more through him than they ever imagined they could. He saves them from almost certain death. He teaches them about the jungle. He teaches them about themselves. They teach each other about being human. The relationship between the hero and the children is one of the things I loved most about this. It may have made me cry. 

I loved the characters in this story. I loved the way it was written. I loved that it was never predictable. I loved that I wanted to read it. I loved the way in which I wanted to read on but I didn’t want it to end. I hated that it ended. I loved the ending. It worked so perfectly. I want to experience this book all over again. I want the excitement and discovery.

I can’t wait to share this book with a class. It is so brilliant for using with children. The language is incredible. You need a piece that delves into sensory writing? You’ll find any amount in here! You need a piece about peril? You’ll find that here! You need an incredible book that will have your kids hooked? Look no further. It would work so beautifully in UKS2 classes but let your kids read it. I don’t have the words for how much I loved this book. I swear, if you can, get your hands on this for your school library/class library/personal collection – it is just exquisite. I’m going to have to get myself a finished copy for the illustrations – I have heard they are beautiful.

Have you read The Explorer?
What was your take on the hero?
Did you have a favourite child?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter. I have so much positivity about this book, I need to share it. 

S x

5 thoughts on “BOOKBLOG: Katherine Rundell

  1. bookmurmuration says:

    Great review, Steph. I love the connections between this and Kensuke’s Kingdom. Also loved the discussion of gender. The jungle takes away social conventions of the time, and suddenly Conn won’t let Fred be the ‘gentleman’. Have you read KR’s story in Quest (the Aarhus anthology)? Also fab.


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