Flip Flop Bay is the sixth in the Elastic Island adventure series 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.
Bob the Blue-Footed Booby is running a flying school, which sounds like fun until the children discover that 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, who is trying to save their small fishing village from closure.
Can the children come up with an idea to save the island and its kooky inhabitants? And what about the complication of the Dastardly Captain Crook?
Miss Ten has read all the previous books in this series and every so often she gets them out and reads them all through again. So it was clear who should be asked to help me review this latest in the Elastic Island set: in fact, she jumped at the chance! I read it first and then gave her the copy on the understanding that we would talk about it together once she had finished it. She is a fast reader so I knew this would not be a problem.
We both felt there was something great about approaching a book where the characters are already known to the reader. Miss Ten was very happy to find that the cat Blong was one of the main characters; he has been her personal favourite since he first took his place in the stories. And although this book can certainly be read as a standalone, we thought it held more personal interest when the settings and protagonists were already familiar.
The storyline is easy to follow but at the same time there are enough complications to appeal to an older reader. It is a given that the animals and birds talk and interact with humans as well as with one another; in fact, there is plenty of magic in this story! But there is also a great deal of fun as the children and their creature friends work together to save the island and bring the tourists back.
Miss Ten's favourite characters (apart from Blong, of course) were the new parrot Gracie the Galah; and Bob the Blue-Footed Booby. While Gracie has plenty of common sense (as well as making delicious icecream), Bob is just the opposite. He is trying to run a business to attract visitors back to the island when his true talents lie in quite a different direction. It is interesting that the children encourage him to stop trying to do something that is doomed to failure just because he thinks he should, and to turn his hand to a completely different enterprise where he is certain to succeed. There is a nice little lesson there on maximising your skills and not doing things you don't enjoy just because you feel you must!
Bob's habit of stopping to admire his feet regularly was the source of much hilarity for Miss Ten (and for me, I might add). This habit extended to all the boobies; Miss Ten said the way they did that was just so cute! She is hoping there will be a seventh book in the series, and that Bob will feature in it. Gracie, too, impressed us both with her sensible attitude and her flair for making unusual and delicious ice cream flavours that everyone enjoyed. My own favourite (again, apart from Blong) is Mrs Quokka and her charming joey; I was so glad that she makes an appearance, short though it is. Her logic, delivered in sets of three, is fun if a little unusual! We were unanimous in deeming this book a great read for children, and hope that the series will continue to expand.
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