From Orca Currents: Even though he’s secretly terrified of deep water, and all the scary things that swim below, Tate wants to shake his boring reputation, and he agrees to travel with his class up the Amazon River to help build a village school. He has his fingers and toes crossed that he won’t see any giant snakes or hungry piranhas.
But there are even scarier things than anacondas lurking in the jungles of South America, and Tate soon learns of the legend of El Tunchi, a vengeful spirit that terrorizes those who harm the rainforest. When creepy things start happening and Tate keeps hearing El Tunchi’s haunting whistle, he’s sure the group must have angered someone. Or something. He and his friends need to figure out a way to make amends and get out of the jungle alive.
Tate, short for Potato, wants to prove he’s not as boring as the vegetable he’s nicknamed after. A trip to the Amazon rainforest with a few of his schoolmates seems like the perfect opportunity. After all, the Amazon has man-eating piranhas, giant snakes, and quite possibly the vengeful spirit El Tunchi. Definitely not boring! If only he could stop feeling so afraid of everything…
This the first hi-lo book I’ve read and I’m very impressed. I’m glad that these kinds of books are showing up more and more. They mean that kids who might be struggling with reading can still find books with characters and stories that interest them, while building up their reading skills at a more comfortable level. I feel like this will mean less frustration, and, as a result, less kids giving up on reading because it’s too hard. Fantastic!
Jungle Jitters has a lot to offer. Not only is it very funny—always a plus!—but Dalrymple does a great job of incorporating facts about the Amazon without making it feel like a geography lesson. From the creatures and plants one might encounter to the climate to culture, it touches on a little bit of everything and introduces readers to this very interesting region of South America.
This book’s main theme is facing your fears and stepping outside your comfort zone. Tate can’t swim and is terrified of the water, but he doesn’t let that stop him from missing out on opportunities like going piranha fishing. It also encourages being inclusive, respecting the environment, helping others… Like I said, it has a lot to offer.
Jungle Jitters is a must for middle school classrooms and reluctant or struggling readers.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ (4/5 hearts)
This book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.