Friday, June 29, 2018

Jungle Knowledge Warrior! Lost! (Survivor's Diaries) by Terry Lynn Johnson

"Tell me, Carter. How did you survive being lost in the rainforest?" the reporter asked.

Did you talk with Anna?" I asked.

"I'll be meeting with her tomorrow." he said. "I want your version of what happened in Costa Rica for the Survivor Diaries I'm writing. About kids like you making it out of life-threatening situations."

Carter doesn't want to tell the reporter how scared he was. He has always been fearful and even subject to panic attacks. But he had no inkling how truly frightening his walk down a well-trodden visitor's trail with Anna was going to be. Carter was traveling with his parents, staying in a resort community in the rainforest, and his dad thought he should find someone his age to hang out with. But Anna was taller, a year older, and a lot bolder, and Carter was determined not to give her any chance to call him a baby. So when she suggested following a path off the trail to see the waterfall and statue of the monkey-witch, he hesitated.

I peered into the branches and imagined all the horrible things that could go wrong. I was shaking my head to refuse, when I saw it--the resplendent quetzal bird.

That's the rare bird Carter had hoped would be number 308 in his birder list, and he agrees to follow Anna down the path as the bird flies that way. The foliage gets thicker and darker, but the two reach the statue, which Anna shames him into the traditional licking for good luck.

That's when I noticed how dark it was getting. Anna seemed to notice at the same time. "We should head back." she said.

Just as we turned we heard a terrifying noise. It sounded like a lion's roar or a grizzly about to charge

Suddenly the canopy of foliage above them exploded in dreadful howls and dark hairy bodies. It's a troop of howler monkeys and even Anna screams and dashes into the bush and Carter has to follow.

And soon Carter's worst fears become true. They discover that they are hopelessly lost in the jungle.

At first Carter staves off panic as he pulls out the emergency kit he always keeps with him, but one of the marauding monkeys scampers down and seizes it, leaving nothing but a plastic bag behind. The two are really lost and realize that they are going to have to save themselves with a plastic bag and what they've got in their heads.

Luckily, Carter is a factoid freak, a collector of random information, in Terry Lynn Johnson's third book in the Survivor's Diary series, Lost! (Survivor Diaries) (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018), and with Anna's athletic strength and Carter's knowledge, they pool their abilities and work together on their survival strategy.

"You're the one who knows all the stuff to get through the jungle. You're like a knowledge warrior," Anna said.

Being prepared for emergencies usually requires having the right stuff--equipment and supplies-- but also the right stuff in the mind--knowledge and spirit, the theme of author Johnson's survival stories for middle readers. Johnson offers both advice in keeping cool and in her author's note the contents of the Canadian Red Cross Survival Kit, as well as a list of helpful websites for emergency preparedness. Close calls and courageous actions ensue and the two manage to save each other several times in this cliff-hanger survival story.

Other books in this series are Overboard! (Survivor Diaries) and Avalanche! (Survivor Diaries) (see reviews here).

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