Monday, 14 February 2011

Tiger Terror and Bat Attack

Hazard River series:

Tiger Terror and Bat Attack by JE Fison
(Ford Street Publishing) PB RRP: $12.95
ISBN: 9781921665134 & 9781921665141
Reviewed by Jenny Mounfield

At last the next two adventures in the Hazard River series have been released. In the first two books, Shark Frenzy and Snake Surprise we met Jack, Ben, Lachlan and Mimi who solved the mysteries of finless sharks and abandoned boats.

Tiger Terror is a rollicking read, which I have to say begins with one of the most intriguing opening sentence I’ve ever read: ‘It was probably my mother’s screaming that frightened the cat.’

The kids are at Summercity on the bank of Hazard River. Excited about his forthcoming trip to the circus, Jack’s hopes are dashed when, while hanging out in a Chinese market, he’s hit on the head by a falling cat and winds up in hospital. Before he’s out for the count, however, he sees something suspicious: a man with a tiger’s paw.

Thanks to an informative cereal packet, Jack knows the animals are on the verge of extinction and so therefore the man must be up to no good. Enlisting the help of his intrepid trio of sidekicks, Jack sneaks out of the hospital and goes in search of the paw pincher (not difficult to find given he’s covered in scars) and uncovers a plot to steal circus tigers.

In Bat Attack the kids are getting geared up for the Hazard River New Year’s Eve disco. On their way to the fire station where the disco will be held, Jack and Ben are almost skittled by a speeding ute. Due to the near collision, a backpack has fallen from the vehicle. Naturally the super sleuths look inside. What they find is a map to a derelict gold mine, which proves to be home to a colony of rare ghost bats. When the fearless four discover the ute owner’s plans to blow up the mine and thus destroy the bats’ habitat, they come up with an effective, if not particularly smart way to foil the baddies’ plan—and all before midnight.

The Hazard River series has much going for it: Beautifully bright, detailed covers, non-stop action, short cliff-hanger chapters and wise-cracking characters kids will love. While there are a few interesting facts to be had, this series is geared towards entertainment. Kids, particularly boys aged 7+ with a lust for adventure will have a hard time putting these books down.

Jenny Mounfield is the author of three novels for kids, her most recent title being: The Ice-cream Man (Ford St). She has been reviewing for Buzz Words since ’06. 

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