Escape Galápagos by Ellen Prager is a middle grade adventure novel. It’ll appeal to most nature and animal lovers, but because the protagonist is fearful of wild animals and being in nature, it also has a wider appeal.
It’s like taking a virtual trip to the Galápagos Islands, which are located west of Ecuador in South America. These are the islands made famous by the naturalist Charles Darwin, who came up with the theory of evolution.
The protagonist, Ezzy, is afraid of wildlife and dislikes being in nature. Her dad (never named) and her younger brother, Luke, are the total opposite. Ezzy and Luke’s mother (an adventurous woman) passed away and their family is on a quest to complete her “wonder list,” a bucket list of places she always wanted to travel to. The Galápagos Islands were first on that list.
Ezzy’s fears of wild animal poop, and of being attacked by wildlife are addressed with humor realistically. A major portion of the book is a hike through one of the smaller islands, Española. It was like I was on the hot and sweaty hike through the island. Animals I had heard of, like blue-footed boobies and Galápagos tortoises, were mentioned as well as those I never thought of being there like locusts (described as huge grasshoppers).
The excitement in the books starts about halfway in when the small cruise ship Ezzy’s family is on gets hijacked. I’ll leave it a surprise why they were hijacked, but it’s for plausible reasons.
It leads up to the climax where Ezzy, Luke and Aiden (a boy Ezzy’s age), are in a race against time to cross one of the islands. Their father is stuck on the boat with the hijackers, and to boot, a volcano on the island has just erupted.
The ending was exciting and a good end to a great middle grade novel. I would recommend this book to any lower middle grader (grades 4-6), especially those that like adventures and/or natural wonders.
Will the Galápagos Islands be on your bucket list after reading this book? They are still on mine!
Ellen Prager has also written another series of books called, “Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians.” The first book is called The Shark Whisperer, which is about a boy who can “talk” to sharks. He ends up at a camp for those with special sea abilities (like camouflaging). I will review that book in a future post!
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