MG Takes on Thursday

This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books, now with a re-vamped banner!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Alex Bell
Illustrated by Tomislav Tomić
Published by Faber & Faber Limited

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

Ursula looked out the porthole again and saw that Bess wasn’t facing off against the pirate fairies, as she’d first thought.

This book in three words:


If ever there was a series to lose yourself in, then The Explorers’ Clubs is it:  go on thrilling adventures, explore richly imagined worlds, meet the most fantastical creatures, and venture with wonderful characters as they face the excitement and danger of standing up to vile villains.  There’s no denying it:  I’m a MAJOR fan of this fabulously fantastic fantasy series.

Explorers at Pirate Island, the fifth book in the series, is another triumph with its dazzlingly imaginative underwater world-building, brilliantly engaging characters and exhilarating fast-paced action.  I read this in one joyous sitting.  A book that truly sings to my heart, and one that I cannot recommend highly enough. 

This adventure follows on from the events in The Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club in which the Collector, Scarlett Sauvage, has not only locked The Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club in a magical globe, but has also kidnapped a group of children.  The young crew of the submarine, the Blowfish, have discovered that she is on Pirate Island, and are determined to rescue the Club and the children, and, oh my goodness, what a heart-pounding adventure they find themselves on …

Ursula, Jai, Genie and Max have arrived at Starfish Island where they discover an abandoned pirate fairy fort on the beach.  Returning to the Blowfish, they discover Captain Zara Silver, a fairy pirate (I know – how fantastic!) with her own pirate parrot.  She discloses that half her fleet are being held prisoner by the Collector, and offers to help with the rescue mission.  Will the crew be willing to accept a pirate as a crew member?

This is a quest that takes the young explorers on a magical, dangerous and thrilling adventure as they visit the most incredible places including the awe-inspiring mermaid city, Mercadia where half-mermaid Ursula is entrusted with a powerful mermaid trident.  As they get ever closer to Pirate Island, they seek help from a sea witch who runs a business with a difference and who gives them a rather mischievous delivery!  They must face party-loving zombie skeletons, make an intrepid rescue from the clutches of a whirlpool, and venture to a dinosaur burial site where they make an astounding discovery!  I mean, just how amazing does this sound?  Because, trust me, it is!

I was absolutely captivated by this scintillating, fast-paced adventure as I followed the action with bated breath, blown away by the twists and turns, the danger, the revelations, but also really enjoying the exquisite world-building and interactions between the characters. 

I absolutely adore the camaraderie between Ursula, Jai, Genie and Max who have such a strong, supportive friendship.  They each have their own unique traits and personalities which they use to brilliant effect when facing the many obstacles which they meet on their quest.  I just have to say that there are also two new crew members who are an absolute delight, but I’m not sure the crew would agree entirely with me, especially about one of them! 

The double page illustrations scattered throughout are absolutely stunning and complement the superb world-building perfectly.

This is a wondrously exciting, action-packed adventure that kept me engrossed throughout, immersing me in a world I was reluctant to leave.  After that ending, I simply cannot wait for the next adventure with Ursula Jellyfin and her friends, and I love the sense of anticipation this brings!

Thank you to Bethany Carter and Faber & Faber for an early copy. 

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

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