'My Name is River' by Emma Rea is an absolute blockbuster of a book, and another brilliant publication from Firefly Press and Golden Egg. Wow! An adventure to the Amazon with thrills, grit, heart and humour - what more could you want! I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Dylan's family farm is under threat; it's going to be sold off to a huge global corporation. Dylan simply can't watch on as it happens, so he hatches a plan to secretly fly off to Brazil with his friend Floyd to persuade the CEO of the company to change his mind. While he fools his mum and teacher to get away, the adventure soon turns into danger, and there's more at stake for Dylan than he could possibly imagine.

This is a wonderful middle-grade story that instantly gripped me and then continuously surprised me as it transported me off to Brazil. Having lived in Ecuador for 18 months as a teacher, I really connected with Rea's vivid and realistic depictions of South America, with all its beauty, hardships and heart. From the busyness of the cities to the harsh realities of the very poor to the spectacular wildlife of the Amazon, Rea's descriptions and details are spot-on. And it's just so exciting! There is peril and wonder, and Dylan is our brave, though vulnerable, guide. Rea remarkably makes the unbelievable (kids running off to Brazil) so believable and heart-poundingly good! I must say, though, that the savvy street-kid Lucia, is the star of the show: a sparky delight of a character. I'd love to read future adventures with her! ​

Overall, 'My Name is River' a fresh, exciting and joyous children's book. I only wish I'd had it in Ecuador, so I could have read it to my class there. More please!


© 2021 by Chris Soul