The Mapmakers’ Race, Eirlys Hunter, Gecko Press, 2018
The Mapmakers’ Race is a glorious read.
If you are looking for a story that ripples with imagination and sings in the ear because it is so beautifully written, this your perfect holiday read. I adore it.
The Santander family is an adventurous family and they are hoping to go on The Great Map Race to win lots of money. But the father is mysteriously not back from exploring and the mother got left behind in a train mishap.
So it is up to the four children to get to the finishing line first (it takes a month) and chart the best train route through treacherous terrain.
Most of the other teams are so greedy to win they will do anything to get there. Villainous!
Once I started reading this book, I didn’t want to stop. I loved the characters and their special skills, especially the way Francie draws the maps for the train routes by seeing everything from above. She doesn’t talk but she has a special sight skill that drains her rather perilously at times.
I also grew very fond of young Beckett who drove them in a horse and trap to the race meeting. He ended up travelling with them because he wanted the train route to go through his neglected village. He turned out to be a godsend because he made their food supplies stretch further in the most delicious ways.
Plus there are the bonus little stories that get told to Humphrey, the youngest sibling, to soothe him. Oh and the mechanical horses that belong to another team!
This book, like Barbara Else’s magnificent Travelling Restaurant series, is set to become a classic because it has all the ingredients that make a story shine: suspense, tricky situations, learning curves, real things shifted a little by an agile imagination, fascinating places and equally fascinating characters.
I was sorry when the book ended but I spotted a launch point for a sequel. Fingers crossed!
Congratulations Eirlys Hunter on this must-read book.
A pop-up challenge: if you read this book and love it, I am happy to post some letters or reviews by children on my blog. firstname.lastname@example.org
Gecko Press page