Review: Ariki and the Island of Wonders

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

Book Title: Ariki and the Island of Wonders (available here)

Author: Nicola Davies

Illustrator: Nicola Kinnear

Publisher: Walker

Publication Date: July 2019

Most Suitable For: KS2

Reviewed by: Rachael Collins, Primary Teacher

Ariki and the Island of Wonders is the second book in a series of stories written by Nicola Davies. The first (Ariki and the Giant Shark) told the tale of Ariki, a young girl living on Turtle Island, dealing with her feelings of being ‘different’ to others on the island and using her connection to animals to solve a problem for the island’s inhabitants.

The exciting sequel continues similar themes, following Ariki and her friend Ipo as they decide to explore the local seas using a borrowed boat, along with their pet pig Bad Boy. However, a fierce storm blows them off course and they become stranded on an unfamiliar island. While working out a way to get home, the friends meet a fellow castaway and discover new and unusual animals. Ariki and Ipo realise that the large, colourful ‘Mweep’ birds native to the island are in danger and they devise a cunning plan to save them.

Nicola Davies’ passion for caring for and protecting our environments shines through in this gripping story. In every part of the plot, there is a balance between the characters helping the animals and in turn being helped by them. It demonstrates the importance of all living creatures and the significance of preserving and protecting them from extinction. The plot shows Ariki developing responsibility for her decisions and is a great starting point for discussing the responsibilities of individuals to care for their world and its inhabitants.

The beautiful and vivid description used, alongside Nicola Kinnear’s detailed and expressive illustrations, allow the reader to jump into this unfamiliar setting and become part of the story. The end of the book hints at the plot for the next story in the series, which I look forward to reading.


You can order Ariki and the Island of Wonders online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Rachael for reviewing it.


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