‘The Mapmaker Chronicles: Race to the Edge of the World,’ by A. L. Tait is a middle grade novel suitable for the 7-12 year old market. It is the first thrilling book in a series full of adventure. It’s written in the style of a good old-fashioned adventure story, set in historical times, where a young boy, with a photographic memory, is sent on a quest to map the world and return within a year.
Tait’s characters are realistic, with their own problems and quirks, and the journey they are on is believable. Tait has managed to balance out fantasy with reality beautifully in this book! The male protagonist Quinn is no hero but develops an inner strength throughout the first book in the series and leaves the reader backing him all the way and eager to complete the journey with him in the next two books. There are classic baddies and a spunky female character that speaks well to female readers too.
The book did not take long to read, being only 240 pages ish, and the plot is not too complex. However, there were a few historical references and the odd word that a junior aged child might not understand, but that only added colour and texture to the story. I do feel that the odd complex word is a bonus to any story as they are great for expanding a child’s vocabulary and in this book particularly, their historical understanding.
I am definitely passing this book onto my two sons for them to read, aged 8 and 10, it’s a real modern day ‘Robinson Crusoe’!