Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team
One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped!
With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved.
Award-winning author Susan Hood and journalist Pathana Sornhiran based this picture book on Sornhiran’s first-hand reporting of the event, and Dow Phumiruk’s beautiful illustrations bring the story to life. The book also includes a timeline and back matter with additional resources.
However, it began to rain and the narrow tunnels flooded. They were trapped, and their coach directed them to a raised ledge where they stayed for ten days before rescuers were able to find them by diving through the tunnels. They drank water from the cave but did not have any food. They needed time to gain strength before diving out with the rescuers, made more complicated by the time pressure of another coming storm. One rescuer, Saman Kunan, died while trying to rescue the boys.
However, luckily and slowly the boys were all brought out of the cave alive. Titan was one of the last to be rescued, but the story has an overall happy ending. The picture book includes realistic illustrations of the boys all along the way as well as plenty of narrative facts, some poems, and additional information about the timeline, facts of the rescue, and question/answers with two of the divers.
What I loved: What a great way to bring a story to life! The narrative format with a main character appeals to a younger audience. This picture book is a little wordier than others, so I would recommend for older (elementary school aged) readers who can really understand the plot and stick with this unique (and true!) story. This would be a great book for the classroom where educators could start discussions about survival, dangerous situations, and how the boys felt as well as the complications of their situation and rescue.
Final verdict: Great for a classroom setting, this picture book uses an engaging narrative style, poems, and realistic illustrations to bring the true story of the trapped soccer team and their rescue to a young audience. Would recommend for elementary school aged children who enjoy non-fiction and exploring stories they have heard about on the news further.