Author: Eirlys Hunter
Illustrator: Kirsten Slade
Publisher: Gecko Press
Date of Publication: July 2018
Reviewer’s name: Kirsten Puddick
Reviewer’s Job title: Librarian
Reviewer’s School name: Holy Cross School, Miramar
How highly are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
This book takes you straight into adventure. As the train pulls away and their mother is left behind, Sal, Joe, Francie and Humphrey rush towards The Mapmaker’s Race alone. They decide that, with the families future depending on winning the prize money, the only thing to do is to start the race and hope their mother finds a way to catch them up.
The children get very little help from any of the adults involved in the race, and the other teams mock and discourage them. However, they are fortuitous enough to meet Becket who is, at 15, almost an adult. He may not have the amazing map making skills of the siblings but he is practical and can cook. Becket has his own reasons for wanting to map the way for a train through the mountains and as the team travel, deep bonds form.
Terrifying dangers are encountered and the way the adult teams behave is one of the biggest threats to their safety. They play to their strengths, keep their wits and remember to choose kind (mostly).
The illustrations compliment the text well and I found it a great read aloud with chapters of a comfortable length. I loved this book and would recommend to adventure lovers of all ages.