Tarantula Tide by Sharon Tregenza

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Tarantula Tide by Sharon Tregenza

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A charming and engaging adventure story set in the Shetlands, with a nicely old-fashioned friendship formed between children solving a piece of skulduggery.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208 Date: October 2008
Publisher: Floris Books
ISBN: 978-0863156731

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Jack is out of his comfort zone. His mother's working holiday taking photographs around Shetland has forced him to come too, and live for a week without computer games and DVDs in a horrid Australian-themed holiday cottage. Amongst their baggage is something to do with the fact Jack's dad is not with the pair. But Jack soon finds he is not the only one far from home when he finds a tarantula crawling about the kitchen.

Next door, handily, is an interesting girl about his age, Izzie, and once the pair form a friendship the book can rush on into the mystery at its core – people who are not what they seem, other people living their evenings on the beach outside Jack's bedroom window, and why and how Izzie knows to tie a hanky to a long stick when she's going for a cliff-top walk.

It's actually quite a charmingly old-fashioned book, all told. The pairing of Jack – at first all huffiness and iPod earphones – with Izzie – encyclopaedic knowledge of exotic animals and local remains – is very nice, and while we've seen it before we can only thank our author it's not one of those modern relationships we get in too many books for this age bracket, where all they do is bicker and be snide to each other.

We also have the location to consider, and this is where some of the brilliance of the book comes out. This seems to belong to a series of books set in and around the Scottish islands, but nowhere is this a story tacked on to a location to get a shoe-in to publication. The locale is used very nicely, all its elements are brought to our attention and into the story in a very pleasant way, and the lore of the land brings a marvellously affecting scene near the end.

The story itself is very nice for something like the 8-13 audience. An adult reading it will see through a lot of it – if not actually make the mystery's solution more convoluted than it is – but it remains a perfectly decent adventure for the child heroes, and bears I think a solid realism.

The child reading this book is getting a gripping and very well-told thriller adventure, regarding things they might have never considered part of their reading world (again, none of the many topics or details are forced down our throats), and in a setting that makes this book stand out from the norm. It does dress the slightly regular in its exotic locale, but does so in a way that offers a lot of charm to the audience, which I hope is a large one. Even should you hate spiders, you should like this little read.

We at the Bookbag must thank the author for sending us a review copy.

Children who enjoy this book might also enjoy The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar.

Buy Tarantula Tide by Sharon Tregenza at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tarantula Tide by Sharon Tregenza at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Tarantula Tide by Sharon Tregenza at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tarantula Tide by Sharon Tregenza at Amazon.com.


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