What a great story! Suspense, treasure hunting, survival, adventure, caving, intrigue--this is a great read. It is essentially The Odyssey in a different time and place, yet it is its own story as well. I mean, who else has thought of making one of those giant refrigerator box sized pieces of styrofoam become a raft? Or about chaining a house to a giant rock? Or burning crawdad oil to power a torch? The details are spot on.
Great characters, good writing, fantastic setting--Wilson has crafted a terrific first novel. Highly recommended, particularly for middle school boys (although girls--like me!--will also enjoy it).
Things to Note/Discuss--there are a million ways to go here--below are just a few questions to ask if you're trying to get a kid talking about this great book
- Have you ever been in pitch blackness? What was it like? Do you think you'd be scared?
- Have you ever thought you might die? Were you scared?
- Did you recognize the gods/goddesses from The Odyssey in the various characters? Which ones? Were they too obvious or does Wilson do a good job of working them in as characters?
- What do you think Jeffrey's deal is? Is he in league with the bad guys?
- What's your favorite part and why?
- If you had to pick something to eat for 3 years in a row, what would it be? Could you survive by your wits as Reg did?
- Could you picture the underground tunnels/caves? Can you make a rough map of where Tom and Reg traveled? Did you expect them to end up where they did?