Review Detail

Middle Grade Fiction 425
The Amazon Can Kill You!
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Ring and Asia Wilde are used to being left to their own devices in the Amazon along with their tutor, Professor Bob, while their mother and father study different environments and the animals there, but when their mother goes missing and isn't in any of her usual haunts, they start to worry. With the help of a local man, Raoni, they find that their mother has been kidnapped by men Raoni thinks are poaching the golden tamarinds Dr. Jane Wilde is studying. The children, along with the somewhat unprepared Professor Bob and the very helpful and adept Raoni, travel across the rainforest and manage to uncover an illegal conspiracy that threatens the rainforest, and do eventually locate their mother, who apologizes for all of the time she has had to spend away from them. This doesn't stop the family from having another adventure in The Vaquita, out August 15, 2023.
Good Points
There is a lot of good STEM information about studying habitats, and Ring and Asia have clearly paid attention to their lessons. The Amazon is a fascinating and colorful place that has a TON of dangerous things that are fascinating. Poaching is a problem in many parts of the world, especially involving endangered animals, so it's good to bring attention to that. Smith always writes a good survival tale; I love his recent The Switch, and his mountain climbing 2007 The Peak series remains popular.

The presence of Professor Bob, who wasn't that helpful, made this seem a little young. Befriending a local guide when their mother goes missing follows the standard middle grade formula, but Professor Bob making the two do homework after they realize their mother is gone wasn't as much fun as the two being on their own.

It's always fun to read a book that lets me travel to places in the world I will probably never be able to visit! This is a great choice for readers who liked Stokes' Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas, Vegas' Pyramid Hunters, Marquez' Wild Survival series or Gibb's Charlie Thorne, or who secretly harbor a desire to see really dangerous parts of the world!
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