The Ocean Squid Explorer’s Club: where bravery, adventure and brilliant characters collide!
“In a distant watery corner of the Explorers Kingdom, a submarine engineer, Ursula, is determined to become an explorer. Unfortunately, she hides an extraordinary secret, which makes her the sworn enemy of the Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club were they ever to find out . . . But when The Collector threatens the Club, Ursula throws caution to the wind and leads an expedition through treacherous waters, filled with gremlins, aboard the Blowfish submarine – and joined by her friends Max, Genie and Jai – and even her idol Stella!“
For anyone who is new to my blog, you won’t know that I am the BIGGEST fan of the Polar Bear Explorer’s Club books… and when I found out there was going to be more books to add to this series, I was OVER THE MOON. Those books gave me such joy that I knew I needed to have more, so it is my utter joy to be part of the blog tour to celebrate the newest addition The Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club.
This one, unlike Polar Bear, follows a group of explorers from the Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club (one of the other clubs mentioned in the original few books). While we aren’t solely focused on Stella and her friends, they do make an appearance (much to my delight!!) This new installment follows Ursula – a trainee engineer, who is half human and half mermaid. She’s hiding something from the people around her so they don’t see her as an ‘outsider’. We see her struggle through much the same things which Stella did – you can’t be an explorer because you’re a girl (which we all know is utter codswallop). We follow her through her very own treacherous exploration to try and save the day.
I knew reading this that I would fall for the characters (just as I did in the original books), but I didn’t realise QUITE how much. Ursula is such a wonderful main character – she’s brave and she’s kind of gutsy. She stands up for her friends; she stands up for herself and she does things that people don’t expect of her. She can see there’s injustice around her and instead of just accepting it, she goes after what she wants. (Sidenote: I really love that this is a thing in MG books. No-one should accept injustice and everyone should be allowed to be whoever it is they want to be!) I loved that we had a girl in STEM too – it’s always lovely to have more of those in books!
Not only has she got a wonderful story and character… but my word has she got a wonderful bunch of friends to help her along on her expedition. I loved the uniqueness of the characters here: you meet a gorgeous array of weird and wonderful characters as you go through the story, and Ursula even has some helping her along the way! Genie (who can speak to animals), her brother Jai (who was definitely very serious and maybe a little overbearing at times!) and Max (because all stories need a troublemaker, just to spice things up). One of the things I love most is that we see how these characters gel together, butt heads at times and who ultimately work together to try and save the day. You get much further with kindness and humour than you do being bossy and mean!
As I said, I was thrilled when I heard there were more books of this series coming and I’m HOPING that there will now be more to come from Ursula, or who knows one of the other explorers’ clubs! I love this world (and its ever expanding worlds and places we meet) and the characters we’ve met so far. This will go down an absolute treat at school because my kids love the Polar Bears
I’d also like to take a moment to truly appreciate the cover, illustrated by the brilliant Tomislav Tomic! These covers bring me SUCH joy and I LOVE that all the books are the same (it makes my bookworm heart so so happy!).
If you’re looking for a wonderful fantasy series to introduce your children to a world of braveness, friendship and brilliant female main characters, you’re in the right place with Alex Bell’s books!
A massive thank you to Faber for having me on this blog tour. I can’t wait to share this with my class – they will be over the moon! There’s still lots of stops on the blog tour to read, so please go check them out and get your hands on this brilliant book!