Title: World Burn Down
Author: Steve Cole
Illustrator: Oriol Vidal
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Genre: Older children’s/middle grade fiction, Contemporary
Book format: Paperback
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Description: Carlos’s mother is a soldier, helping to protect the Amazon from the farmers, loggers and miners who are illegally destroying the precious rainforest. It’s a dangerous job – and when she makes powerful enemies, Carlos is kidnapped to teach her a lesson.
Taken deep into the Amazon, Carlos manages to escape his captors only to find himself trapped by fast-moving forest fires. Can he outrun the flames as the world burns down around him …?

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:   This is a great story showing the true effects of deforestation and the dangers involved. Carlos hates being stuck in the apartment that his mum has rented while working with the IBAMA, Brazil’s Environmental Authority, who pursue illegal land grabbers that are intent on burning down the rainforest for their own personal gain. But while Carlos spends another long day alone while his mum is at work, there’s a commotion at the front door and it sounds like somebody is trying to break in. Carlos tries to hide but he’s soon kidnapped and driven deep into the rainforest. Soon he manages to escape his captors, but things go from bad to worse when Carlos realises that he’s all alone in the middle of the unknown rainforest while fires rage nearby.

World Burn Down book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

This is such a great story and a powerful book too in showing the true cost to nature when people decide to burn the rainforest. From the first lines I was gripped as Carlos gets kidnapped and then driven deep into the rainforest by people who want to teach his mum a lesson and make her pay for the work she’s doing. At first we follow Carlos while he tries to understand what has happened to him, but soon he manages to separate from his kidnapper and ends up alone in the middle of the dence jungle of the Brazilian rainforest. It’s here where the story gets exciting as Carlos ends up lost and confused and scared he’ll never get home. As we follow his story there are illustrations which help you picture the scene although the writing is vivid enough to bring the fear of the scary rainforest to life in your mind.

As the story progresses Carlos ends up meeting someone, and then there is a race to get away from the fires as they burn all around them. I like how this story goes after Carlos meets Davi and how Davi’s tale is explained further in the story. The fear and dangers of the rainforest are shown well and I like how it isn’t just about the smoke and the raging fires, but there’s also the fear of the creatures that exist in the rainforest too. But it’s this book’s message about the fires that burn everything which is so powerful and I like how this story goes and what happens to Carlos and what he discovers.

I won’t reveal what happens but the story is exciting with Carlos having to escape more than just the rainforest fires. I didn’t know what was going to happen but it was a great plot and I liked what happened and how it ends well with a great sort of mini twist at the end which was good. I also love how we find out about Davi and why he is the way he is, and some sad realities of why many different people are willing to burn down, or accept the burning down the rainforest.

Throughout the book there are illustrations on some pages which are all in black, white and grey. I really love how good the illustrations look, especialy the ones showing the rainforest, both the lush forest and the burned one. The images are such contrasts and really depict well not only the way the rainforest looks but the emotion you feel when you see the two versions. I also like the way the characters look and the emotions and fear they feel and face is shown well.

The book is printed on thick creamy/yellow paper with a special font and separated paragraphs which make it easier to read for dyslexics, reluctant readers and also those with general visual problems like I sometimes have. The short length of the book, only a little over 100 pages, makes this much easier to enjoy for chilren who find bigger texts daunting. At the back of the book the author explains more about climate change and his reasons for writing this story. This additional information helped make the book feel more inportant and there are some ideas for things children can do to help with climate change too.

World Burn Down book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

Overall I liked this story. Although I would have liked to know more about what happened to Davi, I did like the overall message and the way that the burning of the rainforest was depicted. I really like the message this book gives and I think it’s a great book to help children understand the wider issues of deforestation and climate change.

What do you think of this book?  Do you like books that feature environmental issues like deforestation?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂