Beneath the Trees (Cristy Burne, Fremantle Press)
Cam and her little sister Sophie have travelled halfway across Australia to see some platypuses in the wild, and even their mum forcing them to wear bright yellow emergency ponchos in the rain isn’t enough to temper their excitement. When their cousin Jack gets a little careless trying to rescue an injured platypus and falls in a stream, he is quickly followed by Sophie and Cam into the chaos and the three kids are swept along the swollen creek and spat out in a river. Now they have to find their way back through the forest in the cold rain before it gets dark, and the impulsive Jack is not making it easier by insisting they go against Cam’s instincts and follow him! Beneath the Trees is a great contained wilderness survival story for kids aged six and up, and also contains some very practical information: Cam is a smart kid and she knows to follow the creek upstream, to look out for signs of hyperthermia and to keep her cousin and sister’s spirits up. The scariest things the trio comes across in the subtropical rainforest are leeches, making Beneath the Trees suitable for sensitive kids. They will love reading this adventure and imaging how they would survive if lost in a forest.
Dani Solomon is the assistant manager of Readings Kids.