Teachers’ Notes – Elastic Island Adventures

Elastic Island Adventures: Flip Flop Bay

By Karen McMillan

Published by Duckling Publishing

About the Book

Elastic Island Adventures: Flip Flop Bay is the sixth in a fantasy action-adventure set in the South Pacific – although note all the books can be read in any order and are standalone reads. Kiri, Jed, and twins Emma and Ethan, discover an ‘elastic’ island that sends them pinging across the ocean to a variety of destinations.

In this adventure, Bob the Blue-Footed Booby is running a flying school, which sounded like fun until the children discover this means dressing in weird costumes and launching themselves off the end of the wharf. It’s the latest silly idea in a series of doomed ventures from Bob the Blue-Footed Booby, who is trying to save their small fishing village from closure. Can the children come up with an idea that will save the island and its kooky inhabitants? And what about the complication of The Dastardly Captain Crook?

In each book of Elastic Island Adventures, four children travel via the Elastic Island service to different tropical destinations. In each book, they face different problems, and they must work together with the help of local creatures to make it home safely.

Every time the children ride Elastic Island, they must do a challenge to pay for their passage. In Flip Flop Bay, the children have to create a short ‘roses are red, violets are blue’ poem.

There is always a different parrot helping Mr Jollybowler, who runs the Elastic Island service in each book. In this book, it is Gracie the Galah.

Each book also features one unusual real-life creature. In Flip Flop Bay, it is the blue-footed boobies.

Karen McMillan lives in New Zealand and is the author of 17 books, published in nine countries, a mixture of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.

Her non-fiction titles include Everyday Strength with co-author chef Sam Mannering, Unbreakable Spirit, Love Bytes and Feast or Famine. Karen has ghost-written From the Blitz to the Burmese Jungle and Beyond. Her fiction titles include the bestselling novels The Paris of the East, The Paris of the West and Brushstrokes of Memory. Karen is also the author of the popular Elastic Island Adventure series for children, which is in early development to be made into a series of animated movies. Karen wrote Elastic Island Adventures purely as a fun family project, and some of the characters are inspired by stories she wrote as a child that were serialized in the children’s pages of a nationwide New Zealand Sunday newspaper. She is also working on two spin-off series, one featuring Blong the Cat, the other The Very Naughty Frivals.

Karen is the resident book reviewer on The Cafe TV3 and appears regularly in the media. She has been a speaker at many festivals and events, including the Going West Festival, the Devonport Arts Festival, the Tauranga Arts Festival, and Brisbane Book Week in Australia (thanks to Creative NZ Funding).

Flip Flop Bay is an action-adventure story full of exciting drama, but also with lots of humour. Themes include building resilience and confidence, problem-solving, looking out for others, making friends, being yourself and developing your talents, the importance of literacy, kindness and caring for others. The Elastic Island Adventures series encourages creativity, where children can enjoy the theatre of their minds!

Four engaging and relatable children feature in each story. There is feisty, outspoken Kiri, who often acts before she thinks. Emma, her best friend, is shy, bookish and dreamy. Ethan, Emma’s twin brother, loves gadgets and inventing things and is ever-so-annoying. The new boy in town, Jed, is a born leader and athlete.

The text is in third person past tense. Flip Flop Bay is written for the 8 –12-year-old age group, but younger or older audiences will also enjoy this action-packed story.

ASK YOUR STUDENTS:

  • Look at the cover. What do you think the tone of the story might be?
  • How has the author set the scene in the first few pages?
  • In the first chapter, the children taste different ice cream flavours. If you could have any ice cream flavour, what would it be?
  • We meet a new parrot, Gracie the Galah, in the first chapter. Find out what you can about the real-life galah. How is Gracie like the real bird, and how is she different?
  • In the first chapter, the children have to make up some ‘roses are red, violets are blue’ poems. Make up your own’ roses are red, violets are blue’ poem.
  • What do you think it would be like to travel on Elastic Island if you could? Are there any changes you would make to the service?
  • In the second and third chapters, we see a colony of blue-footed boobies and Bob, their leader. Research about these real-life birds. How is Bob like the real birds, and how is he different?
  • In chapter 4, we meet the Dastardly Captain Crook. What do you know about pirates? What do you think of this pirate?
  • Also in chapter 4, there is a list of valuable items in a treasure chest. What items would you want in your own treasure chest? Make a list or draw them.
  • On page 49, Heathcliff the Dog says that ‘patience is a virtue.’ Do you agree with Heathcliff? Are there times when you find it hard to be patient? If so, what do you think you can do to be more patient?
  • In chapter 6, Ethan introduces his heliclock invention. Can you design an invention from everyday things?
  • In chapter 7, we learn a few things about flying. Find your own fun fact about flying – whether it be a plane or a bird or other flying creature.
  • We find out in chapter 7 that the blue-footed boobies have had a lot of unsuccessful businesses. Can you take one of their ideas and suggest how they might make it successful?
  • There are a lot of costumes in this book. Draw a costume you’d like to wear at a fancy dress party.
  • The blue-footed boobies have a special dance they do throughout the book. Get into pairs and make up your own dance based on this.
  • There are quite a few Blong-a-grams throughout the book. Can you make up and draw your own Blong-a-gram about this story?
  • Fencing is a sport that you can learn about. In Chapter 10, there is a very exciting sword fight between King Shiny and Captain Crook. Find out about some of the different moves.
  • In Chapter 12, we find out that Bob the Blue-Footed Booby is a fantastic cook, and Jed has the brilliant idea he should open a café. Design a menu for the opening night. You might even want to create a recipe to cook!
  • On page 126, Captain Crook declares that he would like to redecorate his pirate yacht. What colour scheme would you choose? Draw a picture.
  • In Chapter 13, we learn some boating terms, like ‘starboard’ and ‘port’. Research some other boating terms and list them and their meanings.
  • In Chapter 15, the frivals turn up to help paint, which is something they do in many of the Elastic Island Adventures. Can you draw each of three frival characters, as described in the book?
  • Did you know frivals are based on the world ‘frivolous’? What does this word mean, and in what ways are the frivals like this word?
  • In Chapter 16, Mrs Quokka shares some ‘Quokka Logic’. Make up your own quokka logic by taking some well-known sayings and changing them to something fun.
  • Quokkas are real-life creatures. Find out what you can about them!
  • Near the end of the book, Bob’s Blue-Footed Bistro is opened. Design your own café, keeping in mind the colours you would use, and furniture such as tables and chairs. Draw a picture or create a small model. Design your own opening night invitation as well! Pick some music for people to enjoy on opening night.
  • When you get to the end of the book, would you want to be a pirate, or would you prefer to do something else? List the pros and cons of the life of a pirate.
  • What do you think of Flip Flop Bay on Whoop Whoop Island? Would you like to visit this island, and if you did, what would you do while you were there?
  • There is a hint at the end of the book that Elastic Island might go to the Northern Hemisphere in the future. Where would you like to do, and what would you like to do at these different destinations?
  • At the end of the book, the children mention different activities they would like to try. What is something new you would like to do in the future?
  • Having read the book, which of the characters do you like the best, and why? Are any of the characters in any way like yourself?

Elastic Island Adventures: Alphabet Resort

By Karen McMillan

Published by Duckling Publishing

About the Book

Elastic Island Adventures: Alphabet Resort is the fourth in an exciting series, a fantasy action-adventure set in the South Pacific. Kiri, Jed, and twins Emma and Ethan discover an ‘elastic’ island that sends them pinging across the ocean to a variety of destinations.

The children are excited to be going to the wedding of King Shiny and Princess Topaz. Love is in the air, especially when they encounter Wombo the Wombat, a bachelor looking for love, who they decide to help. But then Princess Topaz is kidnapped, and everyone begins a frantic hunt to find her.

Will they find her in time for the wedding, and will Wombo the Wombat succeed in finding love?

In each book of Elastic Island Adventures, four children travel via the Elastic Island service to different tropical destinations. In each book, they face different problems, and they must work together with the help of local creatures to make it home safely.

Every time the children ride Elastic Island, they must do a challenge to pay for their passage. In Alphabet Resort, the children must dance the waltz.

In each book, there is always a different parrot helping Mr Jollybowler, who runs the Elastic Island service. In this book, it is Miss Kara Kea.

Each book also features one unusual real-life creature, in Alphabet Resort, it is wombats.

Karen McMillan lives in New Zealand and is the author of 17 books, published in nine countries, a mixture of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.

Her non-fiction titles include Everyday Strength with co-author chef Sam Mannering, Unbreakable Spirit, Love Bytes and Feast or Famine. Karen has ghost-written From the Blitz to the Burmese Jungle and Beyond. Her fiction titles include the bestselling novels The Paris of the East, The Paris of the West and Brushstrokes of Memory. Karen is also the author of the popular Elastic Island Adventure series for children, which is in early development to be made into a series of animated movies. Karen wrote Elastic Island Adventures purely as a fun family project, and some of the characters are inspired by stories she wrote as a child that were serialized in the children’s pages of a nationwide New Zealand Sunday newspaper. She is also working on two spin-off series, one featuring Blong the Cat, the other The Very Naughty Frivals.

Karen is the resident book reviewer on The Cafe TV3 and appears regularly in the media. She has been a speaker at many festivals and events, including the Going West Festival, the Devonport Arts Festival, the Tauranga Arts Festival, and Brisbane Book Week in Australia (thanks to Creative NZ Funding).

Alphabet Resort is an action-adventure story full of nail-biting drama, but also with lots of humour. Themes include building resilience and confidence, problem-solving, looking out for others, making friends, being yourself and developing your talents, the importance of literacy, kindness and caring for others. The Elastic Island Adventures series encourages creativity, where children can enjoy the theatre of their minds!

Four engaging and relatable children feature in each story. Feisty, outspoken Kiri, who often acts before she thinks. Emma, her best friend, shy, bookish and dreamy. Ethan, Emma’s twin brother, who loves gadgets and inventing things and who is ever-so-annoying. Jed, the new boy in town, a born leader and athlete.

The text is in third person past tense. Alphabet Resort is written for the 8 –12-year-old age group, but younger or older audiences will also enjoy this action-packed story.

ASK YOUR STUDENTS:

  • Look at the cover. What do you think the tone of the story might be?
  • How has the author set the scene in the first few pages?
  • In the first chapter, all the passengers need to dance the waltz to pay for passage on Elastic
    Island. What other types of dances can you list?
  • In the first chapter, we meet a new parrot, Miss Kara Kea. Find out what you can about the real-life kea. How is Miss Kara Kea like the real bird, and how is she different?
  • On pages 15 to 17, Mrs Quokka says three quokka logics. Can you make up another three quokka logics, taking famous sayings and changing them?
  • On pages 31 – 32, we discover that all the buildings at Alphabet Resort are named after a famous children’s writer. Which of these writer’s books have you already read? Can you name some other authors you would add to this list?
  • In Chapter 3, the children learn what will happen when King Shiny and Princess Topaz marry. Some cultures have different wedding ceremonies, so research and write about two different types of weddings.
  • In Chapter 4, the children go to the Alphabet Resort Theme Park. List all the different rides you would like to go on – be as creative as you like!
  • In Chapter 5, we meet Wombo the Wombat. Wombats are real-life creatures. How is Wombo like a real-life wombat, and how is he different?
  • In Chapter 7, the resort has a ceremony to rename the ‘M’ building. Pick a letter from the alphabet, team up with another person and each champion an author with their surname starting with that letter.
  • What do you learn about author Karen McMillan in Chapter 7? This chapter is deliberately silly, but
    the information is based on her real life!
  • On page 119, the children witness the dramatic kidnapping of Princess Topaz. Imagine the scene and describe how you would feel if you were there. What would you do next?
  • On page 122 is the strangest ransom note ever, full of riddles. What exactly is a riddle? Create three riddles of your own!
  • On page 134, there is a discussion about red herrings that Blong confuses with a real fish. Can you say what a red herring really means and give an example?
  • In Chapter 11, there is a team of characters that must work together to solve the riddles. Pretend you are there also and write down what you would say about yourself if you had to introduce yourself to the others.
  • In Chapter 12, we discover that the quokkas and the frivals don’t work well together. Do you have any suggestions on how to rewrite this chapter and fix the problems between them?
  • In Chapter 15, it is going to be very tricky to find and save Princess Topaz when she is invisible – but there are at least two things that work in their favour. Name two important events from this chapter.
  • On page 168, glitter rains from the sky, an illusion created by Kiri’s bracelet, Bracelet von Weila, but the children react very differently to the glitter. If you were there, imagine what you would think and feel, and write down a sentence of what you would say about the glitter.
  • In Chapter 16, we learn more about Chief Montegrow’s character. What is your opinion of him now? And what do you think of King Shiny’s ruling? Do you think Chief Montegrow will create more trouble in the future?
  • In Chapter 18, the mystery of the square-shaped poo is finally uncovered. This is a real thing, but why is this poo square?
  • There are many characters in Alphabet Resort you will have met in previous books. Can you name all the characters who reappear in this book?
  • There is information about many authors in Alphabet Resort. Go back and choose one of these authors and do more research on them and the books they have written.
  • The buildings on Alphabet Resort are very distinctive. Can you draw one of the buildings?
  • At the end of the book, we discover that Blong may be the missing king from the Kingdom of Blong. What are the pros and cons of visiting this island in the future to check if he is their king?

Elastic Island Adventures: Port Mugaloo

By Karen McMillan

Published by Duckling Publishing

About the Book

Elastic Island Adventures: Port Mugaloo is the second in an exciting series, a fantasy action-adventure set in the South Pacific. Kiri, Jed, and twins Emma and Ethan discover an ‘elastic’ island that sends them pinging across the ocean to a variety of destinations.

Their last destination spelt trouble, so this time the children are determined to have a relaxed and safe time when they visit Port Mugaloo on MugaMuga Island. But Ethan falls into a pond and becomes invisible – and the only one who can help them is King Shiny. But King Shiny has gone missing looking for the long-lost royal treasure, so they enlist the help of Mrs Quokka and travel across the desert on a seven-humped camel into dangerous territory to find him.

But have the children made a mistake in trusting Mrs Quokka?
They soon learn that quokkas might be famous for their ‘quokka logic,’ but mostly it doesn’t make any sense!

In each book of Elastic Island Adventures, four children travel via the Elastic Island service to different tropical destinations.
In each book, they face different problems, and they must work together with the help of local creatures to make it home safely.

Every time the children ride Elastic Island, they must do a challenge to pay for their passage. In Port Mugaloo, the children have to take a test. In each book, there is always a different parrot helping Mr Jollybowler, who runs the Elastic Island service. In this book, it is George the Parrot.

Each book also features one unusual real-life creature, in Port Mugaloo, it is a family of quokkas.

Karen McMillan lives in New Zealand and is the author of 17 books, published in nine countries, a mixture of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.

Her non-fiction titles include Everyday Strength with co-author chef Sam Mannering, Unbreakable Spirit, Love Bytes and Feast or Famine. Karen has ghost-written From the Blitz to the Burmese Jungle and Beyond. Her fiction titles include the bestselling novels The Paris of the East, The Paris of the West and Brushstrokes of Memory. Karen is also the author of the popular Elastic Island Adventure series for children, which is in early development to be made into a series of animated movies. Karen wrote Elastic Island Adventures purely as a fun family project, and some of the characters are inspired by stories she wrote as a child that were serialized in the children’s pages of a nationwide New Zealand Sunday newspaper. She is also working on two spin-off series, one featuring Blong the Cat, the other The Very Naughty Frivals.

Karen is the resident book reviewer on The Cafe TV3 and appears regularly in the media. She has been a speaker at many festivals and events, including the Going West Festival, the Devonport Arts Festival, the Tauranga Arts Festival, and Brisbane Book Week in Australia (thanks to Creative NZ Funding).

Port Mugaloo is an action-adventure story full of nail-biting drama, but also with lots of humour. Building resilience and confidence, problem-solving, looking out for others, dealing with anxiety, making friends, being yourself and developing your talents, kindness and caring for others. The Elastic Island Adventures series encourages creativity, where children can enjoy the theatre of their minds!

Four engaging and relatable children feature in each story. Feisty, outspoken Kiri, who often acts before she thinks. Emma, her best friend, shy, bookish and dreamy. Ethan, Emma’s twin brother, who loves gadgets and inventing things and who is ever-so-annoying. Jed, the new boy in town, a born leader and athlete.

The text is in third person past tense. Port Mugaloo is written for the 8 –12-year-old age group, but younger or older audiences will also enjoy this action-packed story.

ASK YOUR STUDENTS:

  • Look at the cover. What do you think the tone of the story might be?
  • How has the author set the scene in the first few pages?
  • In the first chapter, what do you learn about Kiri, Emma, Ethan and Jed’s personalities?
  • In the latter half of the first chapter, the children must answer questions as a test. Come up with six questions you would ask if you were George the Parrot.
  • Mr Jollybowler asks which is tastier – chocolate or ice cream? Which would you say and why?
  • In Chapter 2, the children arrive at Port Mugaloo. How would you describe this place?
  • On pages 28 – 33, Jed barters away his ball so that Emma can have The Unputdownable Book of Mugaloo. What do you think of the system of bartering, instead of paying money? And would you like to have a book that you couldn’t put down?
  • In Chapter 3, Ethan falls into a pond and he becomes invisible. List all the positives and negatives of being invisible. Based on your list, would you want to become invisible?
  • In Chapter 4, you meet a gang of invisible children called the Shadows. They also have a cat called Puddles. How hard would it be to catch fish that turns invisible to give to an invisible cat? Are there other options for how you might feed Puddles?
  • In Chapter 5, the children meet the Quokka Family. What do you know about this unusual real-life creature? In what ways is the Quokka Family like real-life quokkas, and what are some of the differences?
  • On pages 59 and 60, Mrs Quokka says three quokka logics to pay for a camel. Can you make up three of your own quokka logics, taking well-known sayings and changing them?
  • Can you draw a seven-humped camel? Would you like to ride on a seven humped camel, and what do you think the experience would be like?
  • In Chapter 7, there is a sandstorm. What causes real-life sand or dust storms? What should you do in a storm like this?
  • On page 68, everyone is amused by cute baby joey. What do you know about the real quokka joeys? It’s a big surprise when Mrs. Quokka pulls Jase the teenager quokka from her pouch. Is this element of the story possible or fictional?
  • By the end of Chapter 7, you will have noticed the Mrs. Quokka has a lot of unusual things in her pouch, including a phone and shovels. What do you think of her logic of her keeping perfume in her handbag, as it’s too dangerous to have in her pouch with baby joey? Is this another example of quokka logic?
  • On page 79, there is some conga line dancing. Where did this type of dancing come from originally?
  • On page 93, we discover that the invisible cat called Puddles is really a cat called Blong. What does the name Blong mean? What real-life language does this word come from?
  • On page 95, instead of coughing up fur balls like a regular cat, we discover that Blong can cough up a certificate called a Blong-a-gram. If there was something formal you wanted to say to another person, what would you put in your own certificate to someone? What would you call your certificate?
  • In Chapter 10, we discover the golden bracelet that Kiri wears is really a living creature but is in hibernation. How does hibernation work, and what are some creatures in the real world that hibernate?
  • On pages 108-109, we learn about the royal treasure and what King Shiny wants to do with it when he finds it. What things would you do in your school or community if you suddenly found some treasure? Make a list of five key things you’d like to achieve that would help other people.
  • On pages 118-120, we see a different side to Chief Montegrow. He is no longer the fierce warrior, but someone who just wants to be loved for who he is. What was your opinion of Chief Montegrow before this scene, and does his vulnerability change your opinion of him in any way?
  • In Chapter 14, the invisible children are made visible again. Can you describe what that would look and feel like?
  • In Chapter 15, we discover that Salmon the Sea Dragon is very different from the children’s first impressions of him. How important is it not to judge others when we first see them? How accurate is the first impression of someone anyway?
  • Salmon has lost a lot of confidence, we learn, in Chapter 15, but Kiri teaches him to swim again. How important is it to try something, even if you are scared, and think you can’t do it? How important is it to have someone to help you in this situation?
  • On page 155, Chief Montegrow is captured, and he is now partially invisible. If you were King Shiny, what justice would you like to be seen done?
  • In Chapter 17, we discover that the quokka family had the missing treasure all along – but was it a surprise when they opened the treasure to find Grandma Quokka? There is a list of the treasure in this chest – but make your own list of what you would like if you had a treasure chest? Be creative, you can put anything you like in your treasure chest!
  • At the end of the book, the children decide to go on another adventure. Would you go to Stinky Fish Reef, or would you insist on going somewhere else?
  • At the end of the book, there is Mrs Quokka’s Lemon Cake Recipe, which is really a recipe of the author’s mother. Feel free to bake this lemon cake!

Elastic Island Adventures: Rainbow Cove

By Karen McMillan

Published by Duckling Publishing

About the Book

Elastic Island Adventures: Rainbow Cove is the third in an exciting series, a fantasy action-adventure set in the South Pacific. Kiri, Jed, and twins Emma and Ethan discover an ‘elastic’ island that sends them pinging across the ocean to a variety of destinations.

When they visit Rainbow Cove, they discover creatures called frivals who are responsible for maintaining the colours of the island. But the frivals have gone on strike after the local people didn’t like them changing all the colours around – and now the island is slowly fading to grey. Because of this, the chameleons are in danger of dying, so the children set out to find the frivals missing leader in the hope of saving them. But will they succeed before it is too late?

In each book of Elastic Island Adventures, four children travel via the Elastic Island service to different tropical destinations. In each book, they face different problems, and they must work together with the help of local creatures to make it home safely.

Every time the children ride Elastic Island, they must do a challenge to pay for their passage. In Rainbow Cove, the children must climb a palm tree.

In each book, there is always a different parrot helping Mr Jollybowler, who runs the Elastic Island service. In this book, it is Lockie the Lorikeet.

Each book also features one unusual real-life creature, in Rainbow Cove, it is a family of chameleons.

Karen McMillan lives in New Zealand and is the author of 17 books, published in nine countries, a mixture of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.

Her non-fiction titles include Everyday Strength with co-author chef Sam Mannering, Unbreakable Spirit, Love Bytes and Feast or Famine. Karen has ghost-written From the Blitz to the Burmese Jungle and Beyond. Her fiction titles include the bestselling novels The Paris of the East, The Paris of the West and Brushstrokes of Memory. Karen is also the author of the popular Elastic Island Adventure series for children, which is in early development to be made into a series of animated movies. Karen wrote Elastic Island Adventures purely as a fun family project, and some of the characters are inspired by stories she wrote as a child that were serialized in the children’s pages of a nationwide New Zealand Sunday newspaper. She is also working on two spin-off series, one featuring Blong the Cat, the other The Very Naughty Frivals.

Karen is the resident book reviewer on The Cafe TV3 and appears regularly in the media. She has been a speaker at many festivals and events, including the Going West Festival, the Devonport Arts Festival, the Tauranga Arts Festival, and Brisbane Book Week in Australia (thanks to Creative NZ Funding).

Rainbow Cove is an action-adventure story full of nail-biting drama, but also with lots of humour. Themes include building resilience and confidence, problem-solving, looking out for others, making friends, being yourself and developing your talents, kindness and caring for others, anti-ageing, and combating depression. The Elastic Island Adventures series encourages creativity, where children can enjoy the theatre of their minds!

Four engaging and relatable children feature in each story. Feisty, outspoken Kiri, who often acts before she thinks. Emma, her best friend, shy, bookish and dreamy. Ethan, Emma’s twin brother, who loves gadgets and inventing things and who is ever-so-annoying. Jed, the new boy in town, a born leader and athlete.

The text is in third person past tense. Rainbow Cove is written for the 8 –12-year-old age group, but younger or older audiences will also enjoy this action-packed story.

ASK YOUR STUDENTS:

  • Look at the cover. What do you think the tone of the story might be?
  • How has the author set the scene in the first few pages?
  • In the first chapter, what do you learn about Kiri, Emma, Ethan, Jed, and Blong the Cat’s personalities?
  • In the first chapter, we meet a new parrot, Lockie the Lorikeet, a rainbow lorikeet from Australia. Find out what you can about the real-life bird.
  • The children take two rides on the Elastic Island before they finally get to Rainbow Cove. What would it feel like riding Elastic Island, even if you have used this service before?
  • On page 29, the children and Blong are given flower leis to wear. What tropical flowers would probably be used to make these leis?
  • Rainbow Cove is incredibly beautiful and extra colourful. Can you draw the village?
  • In Chapter 3, Emma has a book, All You Need to Know about Colour. What is your favourite colour? Name six things you can discover about this colour that you didn’t know before.
  • On page 37, Blong says his favourite colour is the colour of fish. What colour do you think this would really be?
  • In Chapter 4, we meet Lucy Mangrove, who runs the local library. She has arranged it by colour. What do you think of this idea? If you were going to arrange a library this way, where would different categories of books fit?
  • In Chapter 5, the children meet the Chameleon Family. What do you know about this unusual real-life creature? In what ways is the Chameleon Family like real-life chameleons, and what are some of the differences?
  • On page 57, everyone discovers how naughty the frivals have been, painting everything the wrong colour. Devise your own unusual colour scheme for this scene.
  • On page 63, Charley the Chameleon’s describes the frivals as ‘very intelligent but highly frivolous creatures.’ The author named the frivals based on the word ‘frivolous’. What does this word mean? And what is your impression of the frivals at this point, from what you have read so far?
  • On pages 68 and 69, the frivals have a party, and they sing several songs. What are two of your favourite songs you’d like to sing at a party?
  • On page 70, even Jed is taken aback by the strange food, and the different colours. Think of your favourite food. Would you still eat it if it was a different colour? Experiment with drawing food with different colours from usual.
  • On page 71, Blong is sad when the frival party comes to a sudden stop. Charlotte reminds Blong there is a time and a place for things. What do you think of this idea? Do you agree with her, and why or why not?
  • In Chapter 8, we find out about the Grey Zone. The children decide to journey there even though it will be dangerous. Do you think they are doing the right thing? What would you do?
  • On page 87, they go to the famous frival storage shed, with ‘every hue of every colour imaginable.’ Create a list of ten colours with unusual names.
  • In Chapter 10, the children wake to find themselves painted in different colours. If you were with them, what colours do you think you would be now? Blong has been painted pink and black zebra stripes by the frivals. If you were a frival, what is another option of what you would have painted him?
  • By page 99, we discover that Jed has a phobia – he doesn’t like mushrooms. Although this is a made-up phobia, what are some real phobias that people might have?
  • On page 101, we learn about frival purple, the most regal colour in the world. When was the colour purple more expensive than gold?
  • In Chapter 11, they journey through The Mountain of Doom to the Grey Zone. What would it be like to be in a place so devoid of colour? Do you think you would feel happy or sad being there?
  • On page 120-121, Charley the Chameleon takes charge and, with first aid, revives the sick chameleons. What do you think of Charley’s character, and what this reveals about him. What do you think of Charlotte the Chameleon now you have been reading the book for a while?
  • In Chapter 13, we meet Belly Monster. What is your initial impression of him?
  • On pages 140-141, Ethan registers Kiri in the local talent contest. What do you think of him doing this? Do you think he has good intentions?
  • After reading Chapters 15 and 16, what do you think of Belly Monster now? What do you think caused him to change so dramatically?
  • After reading Chapter 16, do you think the frivals are better off with their leader or are they better just doing their own thing and partying? What do you think of the frivals now?
  • In Chapter 17, Kiri and Blong perform. What would you do in the talent contest if you were to enter? You might sing, or dance, or play an instrument, or do a comedy routine; use your imagination to come up with a routine, including costumes!

Elastic Island Adventures: Jewel Lagoon

By Karen McMillan

Published by Duckling Publishing

About the Book

Elastic Island Adventures: Jewel Lagoon is the first in an exciting series, a fantasy action-adventure set in the South Pacific. Kiri, Jed, and twins Emma and Ethan discover an ‘elastic’ island that sends them pinging across the ocean to a variety of destinations.

Landing at Jewel Lagoon on Trinity Island, the children quickly find themselves in trouble after being captured by an Ape Army. Kiri and Jed manage to escape, but Emma and Ethan are taken to the mines and are forced to work alongside the children of Trinity Island, cruelly imprisoned.

If the children can make it to the other side of the island where Princess Makana still reigns, there might be hope to make it out alive. But even with help from the colourful creatures they meet – Pangali the Platypus, Olaf the Giant, and Big Wig and Wee Wig Knockulous – will they be able to return home safely?

In each book of Elastic Island Adventures, four children travel via the Elastic Island service to different tropical destinations. In each book, they face different problems, and they must work together with the help of local creatures to make it home safely.

Every time the children ride Elastic Island, they must do a challenge to pay for their passage. In Jewel Lagoon, someone has to sing a song. In each book, there is always a different parrot helping Mr Jollybowler who runs the Elastic Island service. In this book, it is Rinaldo the Parrot.

Each book also features one unusual real-life creature, in Jewel Lagoon, this is a platypus.

Karen McMillan lives in New Zealand and is the author of 17 books, published in nine countries, a mixture of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.

Her non-fiction titles include Everyday Strength with co-author chef Sam Mannering, Unbreakable Spirit, Love Bytes and Feast or Famine. Karen has ghost-written From the Blitz to the Burmese Jungle and Beyond. Her fiction titles include the bestselling novels The Paris of the East, The Paris of the West and Brushstrokes of Memory. Karen is also the author of the popular Elastic Island Adventure series for children, which is in early development to be made into a series of animated movies. Karen wrote Elastic Island Adventures purely as a fun family project, and some of the characters are inspired by stories she wrote as a child that were serialized in the children’s pages of a nationwide New Zealand Sunday newspaper. She is also working on two spin-off series, one featuring Blong the Cat, the other The Very Naughty Frivals.

Karen is the resident book reviewer on The Cafe TV3 and appears regularly in the media. She has been a speaker at many festivals and events, including the Going West Festival, the Devonport Arts Festival, the Tauranga Arts Festival, and Brisbane Book Week in Australia (thanks to Creative NZ Funding).

Jewel Lagoon is an action-adventure story full of nail-biting drama, but also with lots of humour. Themes include building resilience and confidence, anti-bullying, fighting against injustice, dealing with anxiety, being yourself and developing your talents, kindness and caring for others. The Elastic Island Adventures series encourages creativity, where children can enjoy the theatre of their minds!

Four engaging and relatable children feature in each story. Feisty, outspoken Kiri, who often acts before she thinks. Emma, her best friend, shy, bookish and dreamy. Ethan, Emma’s twin brother, who loves gadgets and inventing things and who is ever-so-annoying. Jed, the new boy in town, a born leader and athlete.

The text is in third person past tense. Jewel Lagoon is written for the 8 –12-year-old age group, but younger or older audiences will also enjoy this action-packed story.

ASK YOUR STUDENTS:

  • Look at the cover. What do you think the tone of the story might be?
  • How has the author set the scene on the first page?
  • In the first chapter, what do you learn about Kiri, Emma, Ethan and Jed’s personalities?
  • What are your initial impressions of Elastic Island when the children are stuck out at sea on page 19? What would you do if you were in this situation?
  • After meeting Mr Jollybowler, who runs the Elastic Island service, they are given a choice of destinations on page 27. What destination would you choose and why?
  • On page 29, the children learn they must sing a song to pay for their passage. What song would you choose to sing?
  • What do you think it would be like to ride the Elastic Island when it is moving? Describe how you would feel and what it would be like.
  • The children find some distinctive shells and pebbles on the beach of Jewel Lagoon on page 33. They will be important to the story later on, but do you have any ideas of why?
  • We meet the Chief on page 37. How would you describe his personality?
  • What are some other names for The Land of the Long White Cloud? (page 38)
  • The children get dressed up and enjoy a feast on page 45. If you were at this feast, what would you want to wear and what would you like to eat?
  • On page 54, the Chief speaks in a strange language the children don’t know. This is a real language, can you find out what it is?
  • Have you noticed the colour scheme in the Chief’s castle? Can you name the three jewel colours that keep appearing? (page 64)
  • In Chapter 6, Kiri and Jed meet Pangali the Platypus. What do you know about this unusual real-life creature? How accurate is the fictional platypus compared to a real platypus? What things are the same, and what is different?
  • By Chapter 7, you will probably realise that Jed is often hungry. What would you eat if you were starving that you wouldn’t usually eat?
  • On pages 88 – 90, Jed encounters a giant centipede. What do you know about real-life centipedes?
  • In Chapter 8, Kiri and Jed decide to go and visit Olaf the Giant, even though they have been warned he is dangerous. They do this because they want to help Pangali the Platypus. Do you think they are brave, or foolhardy, and why?
  • In Chapter 8, we meet Olaf the Giant for the first time. Can you describe his personality? Do you think he is too unkind about himself with the things he says? What would you say to him if you met him?
  • On page 108, we meet Big Wig and Wee Wig Knockulous. The author created these characters when she was ten years old. Do you have a character you have created that you’d like to appear in a story or book in the future? Can you tell us about this character or characters?
  • On page 109, we discover the Big Wig and Wee Wig are wearing perfume. What do you think this perfume smells like?
  • On pages 120 -123, Emma, Ethan, Kiri and Jed are reunited in the mines – but even though they are in danger, they discover the local children are in an even worse predicament than them. Why is that?
  • At the start of Chapter 11, the four children need to make a decision. Should they put themselves in more danger and try to help the local children, or should they go home? Debate the pros and cons of each option.
  • The boys go to extreme measures to wake Olaf the Giant on pages 136 – 137. Were there other options for waking Olaf?
  • In Chapter 12, Kiri finally finds the Jewel Egg that they have been seeking, the one thing that will save the local children if they can get it to Princess Makana. Can you draw or describe the Jewel Egg?
  • In Chapter Thirteen, the children are attacked by bats. But what are bats like in real life? Do they deserve the bad reputation that they often have?
  • The children make it to Free Bay, where Princess Makana reigns on pages 163-166. Can you describe in what ways Free Bay is different from Jewel Lagoon?
  • In Chapter 14, the Jewel Egg is restored to its holder up high on Black Mountain. Can you describe Black Mountain before and after it is restored? The most significant transformation is Princess Makana herself. Can you draw or describe what Princess Makana was like beforehand, and then afterward?
  • On pages 187-190, we discover why the shells and pebbles are important. How important was it to restore sight and sound to the children? Can you describe how the local children and their parents would feel?
  • By page 199, do you believe the Chief has got what he deserved? Has justice been done?
  • At the end of the book, the children decide to go on another adventure. Would you go on another adventure too? Where would you like to go if you could go anywhere?

Elastic Island Adventures: Kingdom of Blong

By Karen McMillan

Published by Duckling Publishing

About the Book

Elastic Island Adventures: Kingdom of Blong is the fifth in a fantasy action-adventure set in the South Pacific. Kiri, Jed, and twins Emma and Ethan, discover an ‘elastic’ island that sends them pinging across the ocean to a variety of destinations.

When they arrive at the Kingdom of Blong, they discover that Blong the Cat is the island’s missing King. Blong is greeted with a great deal of fanfare, but it looks like fame might be the ruin of him. Will Blong’s relationship with Emma continue? And why do the bilbies, led by Baxter the Bilby, decide it is a good idea to live on a dangerous island ruled by cats? Will they end up on the dinner menu, or will they survive?

In each book of Elastic Island Adventures, four children travel via the Elastic Island service to different tropical destinations. In each book, they face different problems, and they must work together with the help of local creatures to make it home safely.

Every time the children ride Elastic Island, they must do a challenge to pay for their passage. In Kingdom of Blong, the children must pass a spelling test.
There is always a different parrot in each book helping Mr Jollybowler, who runs the Elastic Island service. In this book, it is Mackie the Blue and Gold Macaw. Each book also features one unusual real-life creature, in Kingdom of Blong, it is bilbies.

Karen McMillan lives in New Zealand and is the author of 17 books, published in nine countries, a mixture of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books.

Her non-fiction titles include Everyday Strength with co-author chef Sam Mannering, Unbreakable Spirit, Love Bytes and Feast or Famine. Karen has ghost-written From the Blitz to the Burmese Jungle and Beyond. Her fiction titles include the bestselling novels The Paris of the East, The Paris of the West and Brushstrokes of Memory. Karen is also the author of the popular Elastic Island Adventure series for children, which is in early development to be made into a series of animated movies. Karen wrote Elastic Island Adventures purely as a fun family project, and some of the characters are inspired by stories she wrote as a child that were serialized in the children’s pages of a nationwide New Zealand Sunday newspaper. She is also working on two spin-off series, one featuring Blong the Cat, the other The Very Naughty Frivals.

Karen is the resident book reviewer on The Cafe TV3 and appears regularly in the media. She has been a speaker at many festivals and events, including the Going West Festival, the Devonport Arts Festival, the Tauranga Arts Festival, and Brisbane Book Week in Australia (thanks to Creative NZ Funding).

Jewel Lagoon is an action-adventure story full of nail-biting drama, but also with lots of humour. Themes include building resilience and confidence, anti-bullying, fighting against injustice, dealing with anxiety, being yourself and developing your talents, kindness and caring for others. The Elastic Island Adventures series encourages creativity, where children can enjoy the theatre of their minds!

Four engaging and relatable children feature in each story. Feisty, outspoken Kiri, who often acts before she thinks. Emma, her best friend, shy, bookish and dreamy. Ethan, Emma’s twin brother, who loves gadgets and inventing things and who is ever-so-annoying. Jed, the new boy in town, a born leader and athlete.

The text is in third person past tense. Jewel Lagoon is written for the 8 –12-year-old age group, but younger or older audiences will also enjoy this action-packed story.

ASK YOUR STUDENTS:

  • Look at the cover. What do you think the tone of the story might be?
  • How has the author set the scene in the first few pages?
  • In the first chapter, the children must spell some unusual words. Have you heard of these words before? What are some other unusual words that would be fun to spell?
  • In the first chapter, we meet a new parrot, Mackie the Blue and Gold Macaw. Find out what you can about the real-life bird. How is Mackie like the real bird, and how is he different?
  • In the first chapter, Ethan reveals his latest invention, a binocubrolly. What do you think about Ethan’s invention? What is something you would like to invent?
  • In the second chapter, we meet Tilly, who works at the Kingdom of Blong. Would you like a job at the Kingdom of Blong? If so, what role would you like in the Castle?
  • The Castle is a blend of different styles of architecture and design that combines white stone, South Pacific banners and flags, and Egyptian-inspired cat statues. Can you draw your own version of this Castle?
  • On page 30, there is the first of many quotes about cats. How many are in the book? Can you find other quotes about cats not included in this book?
  • In Chapter 3, you meet Bella, Blong’s sister, for the first time. What is your initial impression of Bella?
  • Blong is reluctant to be King. What are some pros and cons of being a King or Queen? Would you want to be royalty?
  • Emma is worried that she will lose Blong. How valid are her concerns? Would you be worried too in the same situation?
  • In Chapter 5, the children go to the castle gift shop and discover lots of products with images of Blong. If you were the shop owner, what products would you stock? What do you think would be the most popular?
  • On page 46, the children discover that all the food is cat-inspired! Design your own cat-inspired menu.
  • On page 49, Ethan says that fame has gone to Blong’s head to explain why he is misbehaving. Would you want to be famous in the future? What would be some good things about being famous, and what would be the downside?
  • In Chapter 6, we find out about the bilbies, who are real-life endangered animals. How are the bilbies in the book like the real bilbies, and how are they different? What do you think about the bilbies making their home on an island of cats? With King Blong With King Blong ripping up the treaty, do you think they should stay and risk being on the dinner menu, or do you think they should go?
  • At the end of Chapter 6 and into Chapter 7, we meet Heathcliff the Dog. He is named after a famous fictional character – can you find out what book from long ago that Heathcliff (a person) is a key character?
  • What do you think of Heathcliff the Dog? You will notice he has many wise sayings. Can you make some wise sayings as well?
  • On page 60, Squanch, Blong’s butler, mentions the book Kingdom of Blong Butler Handbook. What sort of things do you think would be in this book?
  • In Chapter 8, the bilbies have a special celebration, and they do a dance. How does this dance compare to the actual way that bilbies move?
  • In Chapter 8, we discover the bilbies are very house proud of their burrows. Design your own bilby burrow, complete with furniture.
  • On page 81, Jed’s fungophobia is yet again evident. Debate the merits, or dangers of mushrooms, splitting into two teams.
  • In Chapter 9, the cats do their weekly courtly dance. Can you draw or describe some of the different ways the cats might style their fur for this special occasion? Think about what music you would have if you were organising this dance – make a list!
  • King Blong offers Jed a pot of gold to take his dog away. What do you think you could buy with a pot of gold? What you take the gold, or would you decline and protect the bilbies?
  • In Chapter 12, Bella and Blong work together to open a tin of tuna. How essential is teamwork in solving problems? Invent another situation where two characters in the book work together to fix a problem.
  • Throughout the book, Kiri has been very grumpy with Jed, but in Chapter 13, they are finally friends again. On page 107, Heathcliff says, ‘How to apologise and also how to accept an apology are two things that are crucial for a happy life. It doesn’t matter so much what happened. It is the forgiveness, putting right and moving on that counts.’ Do you agree with Heathcliff?
  • On page 115, Heathcliff manages to squeeze his large body through a small space and ‘Houdini’ is mentioned in this context. Who is Houdini, and what he is famous for?
  • In Chapter 14, the fake Blong is revealed as an imposter – he is cousin Pong! Although Pong looks a lot like Blong, in what ways are they different?
  • In Chapter 15, the cats debate if Bella should be queen. What are some key elements of this debate? Are you happy with their decision? Do you think Bella will do an excellent job as queen?
  • The Coronation of Bella as Queen is inspired by Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. What can you find out about Queen Elizabeth’s coronation?
  • At the end of the book, the children, Blong and Heathcliff, ride the Elastic Island service back to Browns Bay. Would you like to ride Elastic Island?