Blog tour: ‘The Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club,’ by Alex Bell, illustrated by Tomislav Tomić.

This thrilling series started way back with ‘The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club’ and now it’s onto the fourth instalment – the sign of some great stories. This time, it’s the Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club taking centre stage….

‘Ursula knew the submarine wasn’t designed to go this deep, but what choice did they have? No one wanted to get swallowed up by a colossal sneezing jellyfish!

In a distant watery corner of the Explorers Kingdom, a submarine engineer, Ursula, is determined to become an explorer. Unfortunately, she hides an extraordinary secret, which makes her the sworn enemy of the Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club were they ever to find out . . . But when The Collector threatens the Club, Ursula throws caution to the wind and leads an expedition through treacherous waters, filled with gremlins, aboard the Blowfish submarine – and joined by her friends Max, Genie and Jai – and even her idol Stella!’

From the very offset, this book tackles some very interesting issues being faced by out main protagonist the part-human, part-mermaid engineer who is desperate to become a fully-fledged explorer. Firstly, there’s the sexism ingrained in the rules of the club which state that females cannot become explorers (Ursula’s idol, Stella is very much the exception.) And secondly, there’s the deep-rooted hatred of mermaid kind as the wreckers of ships and foes of those at sea. These are barriers which Ursula has to navigate on a daily basis and which get her onto all sorts of scrapes.

It’s not until she sets off on an adventure of her own to rescue the Ocean Squid Explorers’ Club (and many others) from the clutches of a scheming collector, that she starts to show that girls (and part-mermaids) are every bit as good (if not better) at adventuring than the men!

This is another pacy, action-packed adventure to add to the series – I can’t wait to see what comes next! 9+

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Faber Children’s Books for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour*

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