Adventure Island: The Mystery of the Whistling Caves by Helen Moss

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Adventure Island: The Mystery of the Whistling Caves by Helen Moss

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Great adventure story for boys or girls with a hint of a Blyton-style mystery set in the modern day.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: July 2011
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 978-1444003284

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There must be many a parent around who grew up devouring Famous Five adventure stories. I certainly did, so I was excited to read the first in a new series of stories by Helen Moss which bring a flavour of Blyton's famous books into the present day.

Scott and Jack, two brothers, have been sent to stay with an elderly relative for the summer. They're certain it's going to be the most boring summer ever in this very quiet seaside village, and wish they could stay at home with their friends. However, after meeting Emily Wild and her dog Drift things begin to get much more interesting. Emily (the requisite tomboy) is investigating various mysteries around the town, but after the boys arrive there is a theft at the castle museum, and the three children find themselves caught up in a dangerous mystery trying to uncover the truth about the whistling caves!

There are a lot of similarities to the old Famous Five books. They're down one character since one girl is missing, but I always preferred tomboy George anyway, so this is no great loss! There's no ginger beer, but they do seem to have a lot of packed lunches and Jack is constantly thinking about food. Emily is a fun character, very outgoing and adventurous. I didn't think Drift (her dog) had much going for him, but perhaps that will grow more as the series develops. The two boys are fun; Jack the impetuous younger brother and Scott, older and just ever so slightly wiser. The three of them work well together as a team and provide a story that works for both boys and girls. There's also an interesting secondary character, a cleaner at the museum, comes out with malapropisms all the time and I thought was very funny.

As for the mystery they are investigating, I figured out what was going on fairly quickly but this didn't spoil the working out of the story for me, and I think tweens reading it might take a little longer to catch on to what's happening. The plot has a good pace to it, and I liked the rather dangerous situations the children find themselves in. In these days of children spending rather too much time 'safe' indoors for my liking it's nice to read of kids roaming the countryside freely, only required to come home in time for tea.

There are a couple of times when 'cool' references seem to be thrown into the story and I didn't feel they were particularly cool and they jarred a little, but otherwise this is a great romp of a story, definitely a page-turner, and would make fabulous holiday reading for children around nine years and older.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: For another fabulous adventure story try Mistress of the Storm by Melanie Welsh.

Buy Adventure Island: The Mystery of the Whistling Caves by Helen Moss at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Adventure Island: The Mystery of the Whistling Caves by Helen Moss at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Adventure Island: The Mystery of the Whistling Caves by Helen Moss at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Adventure Island: The Mystery of the Whistling Caves by Helen Moss at Amazon.com.


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The Author said:

Hi Ruth,

I just wanted to say thank you for the lovely review. As a new author I really appreciate your kind words and am so glad that you like The Mystery of the Whistling Caves. I've really enjoyed writing this series and am currently working on Book 7, so there are lots more adventures to come!

best wishes,

Helen Moss