‘I can’t believe the holidays are almost here, Bernie.’
‘I know. It’s the last day of school already.’
‘I’m so excited!’
‘What do you have planned?’
Anders and his friends, Bernie and Eden are looking forward to their holidays, now that school is finished. Anders and his family are going away, as is Eden. But Bernie has no plans as his father has to work. Anders soon sorts that out and Bernie joins his family at the holiday camp. There they spend their time exploring, having fun, making new friends. Eden is happy to join in, but is just as happy to entertain herself with her own projects. Now Anders is not the only one with a beetle, there is even more adventure to be had. Their new friend doesn’t have a beetle, but she does have a cricket, a jumpy one. Cover art shows the friends flying with the aid of their beetles/cricket and the smoking volcano hints at their interaction with this extinct volcano. Characters are drawn lightly as animals of different species.
Told in graphic novel/comic format, Anders and the Volcano is light on text, heavy on image and packaged as a novel. This second adventure with Anders and his friends (Book 1: Anders and the Comet) explores many familiar aspects of summer holidays – going away, exploring, playing, sleepovers. Each of the characters has their own story, and represent a range of family types and backgrounds. The style of the images is uncluttered and gentle and would be accessible to a wide range of readers and reading abilities. Younger competent readers will enjoy the adventures told in the comic style and older readers not ready for full novels will appreciate the different character journeys and the clarity of the text. Recommended for newly competent and mid-primary readers.
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller