Saturday 5 March 2022

The Great Treasure Hunt: Mertales 3

The Great Treasure Hunt: Mertales 3 by Rebecca Timmis (Allen & Unwin) Paperback RRP $14.99 ISBN 978 1 76 0 526573

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Rebecca Timmis is an author illustrator from the sunny Gold Coast. This is her third book in the Mertales series.

It’s the day of the Cockleshell Cove Treasure Hunt and the whole town is brimming with excitement. Coral and Pearl Periwinkle, Shell Shimmerfins and Sandy Starfish think it will be a sea-breeze to win but there’s more at stake than finding the treasure. There’s a bigger mystery to solve with hidden baddies at play.

Rebecca Timmis sets the scene and dives straight into the action. She has taken a treasure hunt adventure into an undersea world and her smart language choices and simple sentences move the story along beautifully. The text immerses the reader with clever puns and verb choices. The sea themed word play is woven throughout every page and makes the story distinctly unique.  The Finns solve mysteries and find clues as they move along each stage of the adventure. To be sure, to be sure you will be entertained. ‘Ladies and gentle-finns!’ said Mer-major Twinklefins. ‘It’s almost time for the Cockleshell Cove Treasure Hunt to begin. But first, please give a warm welcome to our host, Count Frumplesquid the Third Count Frumplesquid has kindly donated all of the treasure for our treasure hunt.”

Her illustrations are cartoon-like and depicted in greys and whites with splashes of pinky red. The characters movements and expressions show personality and individuality. On double page spreads there’s lots of detail with the main character’s in focus and the others gathered around in places in the background. I love the use of bubbles, little crabs and creatures throughout the book. The Mertales are shown working together brilliantly and also individually. I particularly love the image of the ancient ocean queen – Clamopatra lying on a throne with fish servants around her. The illustrations add humour, action and character information. As the story unfolds it becomes much like watching a movie inside your head.

Mertails – The Great Treasure Hunt is a brilliant junior fiction book for children aged 6-9 years who love a great mystery to solve as they dive inside an undersea world. This story has easy to read the text that suits this age group perfectly and the illustrations support the text with characters that are dynamic and fun.

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