Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Mapmakers' Race - Eirlys Hunter

The Mapmakers' Race - Eirlys Hunter, illustrations by Kirsten Slade

"Four children temporarily lose their parents just as they are about to begin the race that offers their last chance of escaping poverty. Their task is to map a rail route through an uncharted wilderness." - Gecko Press

The Mapmakers Race ticked all the right boxes for us.  We read this at bedtime over the course of about a week.  I don't know who was more invested in the story, but I will say that the refrain of 'just one more chapter' was oft repeated.  This is a riveting adventure story filled with obstacles, nasty antagonists, a touch of magic realism and all the descriptions of food that you could possibly hope for.  Exactly the sort of book I would have devoured as a kid. 

Hunter's writing strikes that perfect balance between description and plot.  Never boring, and never losing sense of the (beautiful) world of the story.  Each of the central characters are roundly drawn and immensely loveable.  Even the roguish baddies are lots of fun.  And as if the writing isn't beautiful enough, there are oodles of gorgeous illustrations paced throughout the story.  So divine.

"I absolutely loved The Mapmakers' Race.  I thought Sal was pretty cool and Joe and Beckett were very adventurous.  I thought the drawings were beautiful and interesting.  I found the story very entertaining and when I finished it I wished it would go on and on and on." - Eleanor (aged 8)

"I really wanted another chapter book of it because it's so fun.  Beckett was the cook and ruled the food and he said no one could have any food until it was lunchtime.  I liked how Humphrey was really wanting stories and he was quite funny." - Garland (aged 6)

The Mapmakers' Race made us want to rush out and have alllll the adventures.  It has sparked a lot of explorer games since.  Desperately hoping this is part of a series...

If you would like to hear a snippet of the story, and see some of the illustrations check out this short video.

Available now.

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