Review: Tarantula Tide

Posted on March 31, 2009


Tarantula Tide
By Sharon Tregenza
Floris Books
October 2008
208 pages

Jack’s summer holiday gets off to a rocky start when he tosses his cookies all over a biker dude’s boots on the ferry ride to the most un-glamorous vacation spot on earth, the Shetland Islands far away in the North Sea.

“Who wants to go to Shetland anyway?” Jack grumbles to his Mum.

From the moment he makes his wobbly landing in chilly Lerwick, Jack’s vacation is anything but dull. His next door neighbor Izzie has barely introduced herself when they find a rare Mexican red-kneed tarantula under the refrigerator in his cottage. To Jack’s horror and amazement, she calmly picks up the spider and leads him to her super secret Izzie-zoo containing Bombina the Oriental fire-bellied toad and Karma the chameleon. Discovering how the exotic creatures came to live in a shed in Izzie’s backyard takes these two fast friends on a trail that leads to dangerous smugglers. Along the way Jack also discovers that before he can truly get on with his life he must unlock the painful secret he brought with him.

From the ancient brochs, to the gorgeous wild ponies, to the enormous skuas, the raw splendor of the Shetland Islands comes alive in this mystery. Treganza brilliantly harnesses the charm of wonder of this magical setting and wraps it around an exciting adventure. Young readers will be easily drawn into solving the puzzle with Jack and Izzie.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Peggy Tibbetts

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