Title: Ariki and the Island of wonders (Ariki #2)
Author: Nicola Davies
Illustrator: Nicola Kinnear
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s ficiton
Book format: Paperback
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Description: After sailing in a storm, Ariki and Ipo wash up on a faraway shore.  This new island is full of life: butterflies, beetles, lizards and – most wonderful of all – a giant bird with bright blue feathers.
But when they meet another castaway, the children discover this island is no paradise: there are dangers lurking in the shadows…

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is a surprisingly good story set in a lovely place. Set in the past, ‘Ariki and the Island of Wonders’ is the second book in the series however it can be read as a standalone, as I did. The book is filled with text but also some really lovely illustrations of the characters and many animals, all images in grey, black and white. Ariki is learning to be a star walker, but she is bored with Arohaka’s lesson and takes the chance to get out onto the sea with her friend Ipo and pet pig Bad Boy. But then a storm rolls into the ocean and the waves take Ariki and Ipo further and futher out into sea, away from Turtle Island and to a place she’s never been before.

Ariki and the Island of Wonders book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

The book is set in a time before modern sea travel, back in the days that sailing ships used sails and takes place on a tropical island. Ariki and Ipo’s adventure on the sea is just the beginning and eventually they land on a mysterious new island that nobody they know of has ever visited, with strange animals that need their help. I really enjoyed reading this and considering it’s part two of a series, it was really easy to get into and enjoy right away. I love the setting on these islands and the adventure Ariki and Ipo end up having is full of surprises and interesting creatures. I love the way the author, Nicola Davies who is always championing nature, manages to not only create these lovely scenes featuring so much wildlife and descriptions of the animals they encounter but there’s also a wider message of looking after the wildlife, especially the beautiful wildlife in untouched areas (perhaps extra fitting given recent environmental problems).

The story is exciting and I started to enjoy it even more when we discover Crusoe (not Robinson) and the humour he and Mweep bring to the story is something I loved reading. As the tale comes towards its end though I couldn’t help but feel sad too for Mweep, especially when there is a moment involving some bright feathers – it actually touched my heart, made me quite emotional. The story is a lovely one and ends on a happy note though and with an interesting ending that makes me want to read the next book to see what will happen! (as well as the first book to find out how Ariki ended up on Turtle Island) It also does do a good job of bringing in a bit of emotion, espeically towards the end when you think about poor Mweep and the future of our own world.

The illustrations are just perfect and are detailed as well as fun. There are images surrounding text, with an image sometimes spread across a whole page or on just part of the page. There are also some lovely circular tribal patterns used as chapter headings. The illustrations are just perfect and I love the expressions on the characters’ faces and I especially love the way all hthe creatures are drawn, particularly Mweep and Bad Boy! There’s something so fun and engaging in the pictures and I can’t help but keep looking back at them even after I’ve finished reading the story.

Ariki and the Island of Wonders book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

I really didn’t think I’d enjoy this book as much as I have! I thought it would be a lovely tale, but it’s so much more and I simply love all the illustrations which just make it feel so much more special. I’d definitely recommend this book, it’s a great story and is perfect for kids who love nature and animals. It’s also got a good environmental/conservation message although it’s mainly just a great story. I’m definitely going to read the next book when it comes out I’m going to read the first one in this series now too.

Have you read the first book in the Ariki series?  What do you think about this book or the illustrations?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂