Taupo Blows! By Doug Wilson, Bateman
Doug Wilson is probably best-known for his fantasy/adventure series starring a young hero called Tom Hassler (see http://www.tomhassler.com). He branches out with this New Zealand fantasy set within a disturbing scenario – Mount Ruapehu and Lake Taupo are exploding. Twelve-year-old Rachel and 10-year-old Sam are temporarily home alone in their lakeside house when the first fearsome eruption happens. The road to their house is damaged and communications are difficult. What should they do?
The story moves into fantasy mode when a lava spout heads towards them and deposits a strange little man on their deck, a little man who appears to be made of hot lava. His name is Guld. He tells them that he can stop the eruption, but they need to work with him and his supernatural friends – Saradonga the snowbeast, Turnwald the earth creature, Eerie Hoo the land spirit, and a few more. So begins a quest into the heart of Ruapehu to find the culprit whose thoughtless actions have caused the massive eruption and the resulting devastation.
The plot involves plenty of action and danger, so should appeal to readers of intermediate age who like a fast-moving story full of weird creatures. It’s not a story for younger readers, because the first few chapters about the eruption and its effects on New Zealand are quite frightening – sensitive children might be concerned.
ISBN 978 1 86953 967 2 $18.99 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman