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The Explorer

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  3,818 ratings  ·  641 reviews
Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are on their way back to England from Manaus when the plane they’re on crashes and the pilot dies upon landing. For days they survive alone, until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city, and to a secret.
Paperback, 416 pages
Published January 2nd 2018 by Bloomsbury Childrens Books (first published August 10th 2017)
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T I think it would make a better read-aloud. It does have a curse word or two in it, but the author mostly says that the character cursed. Some of it ma…moreI think it would make a better read-aloud. It does have a curse word or two in it, but the author mostly says that the character cursed. Some of it may frighten a sensitive eight year old too.(less)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,818 ratings  ·  641 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
Fred is on a six-seater plane headed to England from Manaus when the pilot stops breathing. The airplane crashes into the canopy of the Amazon jungle, and Fred later wakes in the wreckage to discover that he and three other children are alive but lost. With no hope of being found or getting home, they go in search of food and shelter. Before long they discover something that suggests they’re not alone in the jungle . . .

It’s admirable that Rundell has written a story that’s not entirely compris
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable middle grade with survival at its core. I haven't read anything that puts children in quite a dangerous position, and it was nice to see how realistic it came across for the most part. The realness of the situation was helped by the realness of the characters. I really enjoyed them, and they each added something to the story. Max, though, is such a little cutie! Also loved Baca the sloth. Writing was fantastic and kept me engaged the entire way through.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fred, Lila, Max and Con all end up lost survivors of a plane crash in the Amazon forest, how will they survive? What follows is a delightful adventure story as we follow their mildly perilous journey to try and get home. I loved that this was both a nod to adventure stories of the victorians as well as an ode to those explorers who vanished in the past. Sadly once ‘The Explorer’ turned up I lost my love a tiny bit as he started to impart more life/moral lessons than survival which slightly knock ...more
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, favorites

What a gloriously wonderful book. The completely absorbing story of four children whose plane crashes in the Amazon jungle, they are utterly alone and learn to survive using common sense and good luck. The pace is great, the things that happen to the children all seem to fit with the situation even though they are completely fantastic. They decide to try to get home using a map they've found, strap a raft together using intuition and set off to try and escape their situation. The river carries t
Katerina  Kondrenko
5.5 out of 10

I compare this story with middle grade books from my childhood (I mean Treasure Island and such) and The Explorer is not that good. I wanted more danger situations, more of friendship and adventure.
Sophie Crane
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-in-h-f
This is one beautiful book about an English boy Fred,an English girl Con and a Brazilian girl Lila and her little brother Max who find themselves lost in the Amazon rainforest after a plane crash. Each one is a complex character Fred is a wannabe explorer who has read a few books and is desperate to impress his father, Con has lived a prim and proper life where you sit still and everything is clean, and Lila is filled with the most powerful protective love towards her brother, whilst Max is a lo ...more
Robin Stevens
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Katherine is one of the best writers in children's literature at the moment, and this is another tour de force from her. Lush, beautifully imagined, heartfelt, wildly exciting, it transported me to the Amazon and made me live with its characters until the end (although I was crying so hard during the last ten pages that I may have missed small details).

Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Bravo! 8+

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material
Cori Reed
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book would have blown 10 year-old Cori's MIND. A group of (reluctant) friends surviving with nothing in the Amazon? Sign me up!

Super enjoyable, I will definitely be sharing this story with kiddos in my life.
This was the January selection for my kids' bookclub that they participate in through a local independent bookstore. It's an interesting survival story about 4 kids who end up stranded in the Amazon outside of Manaus.

I liked the level of cooperation and growth by the kids. It was so much better than if it had turned into some Lord of the Flies type scenario. Rundell wrote in a blog post that all the things described in the book were things she saw and experienced in the Amazon herself, so that w
Kaethe Douglas
Just the book for fans of My Side of the Mountain and Hatchet. I am glad I have read the Lost City of Z: I still have a bit of Amazonia in my mind. It's such a thrilling adventure with just enough humor, and I love the way Rundell has with description. She managed to convey quite a bit of what bugs and spiders taste like.

Library copy
Ms. Yingling
E ARc from

Four children flying back to England in a vague post WWII period crash in the Amazon when their pilot has a fatal medical issue. From there, Fred, Con, Lila, and her five year old brother Max have to try to make it to get help in Manaus, Brazil. Along the way, they find clues in small tins, try to survive on the water and food they find, and adopt a baby sloth. Eventually, they find another human, but he is an irritable man who is still grieving over his lostv wife and ch
HP Saucerer
After their plane crashes in the Amazon, Fred, Con, Lila, and Lila’s five-year-old brother, Max must face predators and growing hunger and learn to navigate treacherous trails and conquer their fears, as they bid to find their way back to civilization.

A mysterious map, found by chance, charts their course, leading them to a ruined city of secrets, where they soon discover that they were never alone out there in the jungle; someone has been watching them, and it’s only a matter of time until the
Karina Dewi
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m so glad that I finally got rid of my reading slump and all thanks to this book!

The Explorer is about four children, Fred, Lila, Con, and Max, who had an aircraft accident and got stranded in the Amazon Jungle. And the book is telling a story about how these four kids survived in the jungle, despite all the challenges and troubles.

I don’t want to get too much into the spoiler zone, but this book is written so beautifully and in such a way that makes me feel like I’m also in the adventure wit
Eleanor (bookishcourtier)


This had all the warmth and wit of Katherine Rundell’s previous books. I adored Rooftoppers, and I liked this one too. Perhaps not as much, though - this one didn’t feel quite as effortlessly funny and unique. However, that being said, my overall experience of reading this book was pure enjoyment, and I think it is a book that lots of young readers will really love. I would say that this is a children’s book written with children in mind.

I think Rundell’s
I should be saying that I think Rundell is one of our finest and I hope she stays in the field of children's literature and does not leave. She has a style and heart which is so well suited to the genre - she never writes down and she writes with passion and humour which children will intrinsically love. Yet, the Explorer wasn't as strong, for me, as some of her other work - notably The Wolf Wilder, which is one of my favourites.
I think I struggled to understand what the story was about - wheth
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good wee story about a group of young people who survive an airplane crash in the Amazon jungle. You usual survival story of brave children but the events lead to a surprising discovery which brings in some big questions about the impact of mankind on the environment. Suited to gentle readers, enjoyed it but didn't love it.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars

Nice story, beautifully illustrated. But it can't measure up to the wonderful "Rooftoppers"...
Michele Knott
Fantastic adventure book. What I love about Katherine Rundell's books is the way they tell an amazing tale, yet weaves in themes ideas that make you think about how you do things. Hand this book to kids who love Hatchet and Watt Key's books.
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How CAWPILE didn't come out as five stars I don't know. This book isn't perfect but it's pretty damn close!

I love adventure and survival stories and this book is the perfect combination of both genres. Following four children who are stranded in the Amazon jungle after their plane crashes, The Explorer is an action-packed and thrilling tale of friendship and exploration.

I loved the way this narrative ran, it was a classic survival-in-the-wild style story but then we are introduced to a myste
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ending almost brought me to tears, it was so sweet!
Joe Fisher
Whilst studying the rainforests of the world with my class, I decided upon this book to match the topic. Coming with a variety of recommendations from other readers I was intrigued. The intrigue continued through the most part of the book but I felt like that was only because of the setting.

The characters - 4 children of varying age - carry the story well but I feel like Rundell missed a trick when thinking about the lead protagonist. We see through the eyes of a 12 year old boy and I just felt
What a wonderfully thrilling adventure story. Certainly not just for children. I enjoyed this tale of the children's perilous journey through the Amazon rainforest in search of safety, following a plane crash which left them injured, frightened and very alone as much as my son did.

It is a good old fashioned style adventure story for children, and will appeal to anyone who has loved E Nesbit, Enid Blyton, Frances Hodgson Burnett and many other writers who wrote adventure stories about resourceful
⟡ brittney ⟡
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I absolutely loved this book. It's a fantastic story about friendship and adventures. The four main characters in this book -- Fred, Lila, Con, and Max -- are such vivid, raw, and real characters, and I completely adored every single one of them. This book always left me wanting more -- more of the characters, more of the story, more of everything. The Explorer was fantastic; it's characters will be staying with me for a while.
Matt Davies
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will admit that when I heard the premise of this book, I did think it may be a Lord of the Flies for a younger audience. Some children are caught in an air disaster and end up fighting for survival in a remote location. There are, of course, many similarities between The Explorer and Golding’s classic, but as the narrative unfolds you will find The Explorer deserves every credit it has received.

What is refreshing about this book is that it is a good old-fashioned adventure, straight out of the
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a huge fan of Katherine Rundell ever since I curled up with ROOFTOPPERS on a sunny afternoon in England. And though this was very different, it... might actually be my favorite of her works to date.

The world of the Amazon is brought into stark, poetic clarity--as one always expects from a book by Rundell. I had nearly forgotten how, as a kid, I was completely fascinated by the Amazon, completely engrossed in learning about survival in that part of the world. But this book reawoke al
Phoebe Ledster
For me this was a fantastic adventure story full of exciting twists and turns which kept the story going at a fast pace! The way the story is written is so detailed and I loved seeing the relationship between the characters progress and develop. Speaking of which, I really loved the way the characters were written! They were different but realistic and I felt they fitted into the plot really well. The whole story was full of passion, enthusiasm and mystery and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Th ...more
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Katherine Rundell's done it again! I couldn't stop reading and finished it in one day. I loved the characters, how she was describing the jungle and I may have even shed some tears because of the last two chapters... Just a beautifully written story for everyone who loves adventure-stories, with a bit of depth to it.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed it. It’s was a quick and easy read. I would of liked a little more detail at the end, another chapter that’s all it needed, just to explain a little more, but it was still good.
Loved all the characters! The illustrations are amazing! It’s worth to read it just for that, haha.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a fun adventure! I’m a HUGE fan of the TV show LOST, and this book gave me all those feels — Lost for kids.

For the kiddos (and adults) who love adventure, exploration, and survival (although nothing to serious) stories — give this one a go.
Jul 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't connect emotionally with the characters and the writing style was a bit staccato and didn't appeal to me. But I liked this for the life lessons and the amazing resilience of the four children.
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NZ Intermediate S...: The Explorer (NZSO July) 1 17 Sep 11, 2017 04:12PM  

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Katherine Rundell was born in 1987 and grew up in Africa and Europe. In 2008 she was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Her first book, The Girl Savage, was born of her love of Zimbabwe and her own childhood there; her second, Rooftoppers, was inspired by summers working in Paris and by night-time trespassing on the rooftops of All Souls. She is currently working on her doctorate along ...more

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