The Wonder List Adventures #1
Written by Ellen Prager
Illustrated by Melissa Logies
208 pages Ages 9—12
Genre: Middle Grade Book, Fiction
Themes: Galápagos Islands, Nature, Poachers
Synopsis: Before Ezzy Skylar’s mother died, her father promised to take his two children to all the places on his wife’s wonder list, starting with the Galápagos Islands. There’s just one problem: while her little brother Luke is in animal heaven, Ezzy has a paralyzing fear of wild animals. That’s why she’s aboard the cruise ship when danger strikes. Forced to find depths of bravery she never knew she had, Ezzy has to make a perilous journey across Isabela Island with her brother and a boy she met on the ship to rescue all aboard and save the animals of the Galápagos. <small>(from back cover)</small>
She lay low behind the castle. The darkly primeval creature appeared huge. Its skin was thick, black, and leathery.
Why I like this book:
Ezzy, her brother Luke, and her dad are on their first trip from her mother’s “wonder list.” The Galápagos Islands are not Ezzy’s idea of the perfect vacation spot. Her father and younger brother are having a terrific time. Not so much so Ezzy; she is terribly afraid of wild animals. On these islands, animals roam freely and are not afraid of people. Ezzy does her best to adapt, or at least look like it, but with the iguanas frequently sneezing salt-boogers, crabs crawling under foot, and the penguins—she actually likes the penguins.
The one morning her father allows her to stay behind on the ship poachers embark, capture the crew, and use the cover of naturalists to collect various animals. Forced to help the animals the “crew of naturalists” injured, Dad stays aboard the ship while the kids go on the required morning excursion. When these poachers are finished what will happened to everyone aboard ship?
Ellen Prager, Dr. Ellen Prager, is a marine biologist. For a scientist who is usually past her ears in seawater, Dr. Prager writes fantastic kid-friendly action stories. Her wonderful explanations about nature, descriptions of animals, and her easy style of writing will keep readers interested far past their bedtimes.
What is so great about this sophomore effort? Compared to the trilogy Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians (see reviews here), Escape Galápagos is a tighter story. The action builds and releases tension repeatedly, and the chase scenes put you on the island with the kids. Ellen Prager’s humor has better timing. The science is terrific. (There is definitely a lesson plan in this story.) Escape Galápagos story contains both land and sea animals (most endemic to the Galápagos islands). I believe Dr. Prager’s sophomore series will beat out her debut in every way that matters—with young readers and their parents.
If each book in The Wonder List Adventures series is as good as Escape Galápagos readers will read the series twice (this includes us older kids as well).Anyone considering a trip to the Galápagos Islands should read Escape Galápagos to get a feel for the experience (sans poachers).
Kids who like animals or any of the Tristan Hunt books will love Escape Galápagos. Did I mention the animals are fantastic? I thought I could reach out and touch them.
But . . . I would like to see a vocabulary list, especially when a special subject or location is major to the story. Both are true for Escape Galápagos: special subjects: poached and engendered species and location: Galápagos Islands.
My favorite line does not come from the story but from the dedication.
Dedicated to the Galápagos Islands, one of the world’s last wild places, where animals roam free and humans are strictly controlled.
Given the state of planet Earth—our only home—humans need more control.
There is one section in the back, which is in every Ellen Prager novel: Real vs. Made Up. This is a fun section. The author first presents a list of objects or happenings from the book and you must decide if it is true or actually happened, or if the author made it up for the story. Following this list, the author then reveals, which of this list is true and which are false, followed by an explanation or antidote for each. It is usually very surprising and always a fun section to read..
The Wonder List Adventures #1: Escape Galápagos. Copyright © 2019 by Ellen Prager. Illustrations copyright © 2019 by Melissa Logies. Published by PUB, New York, NY.
Available at Amazon
Copyright © 2019 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved