Parakeet Melati lives with the rest of her bird friends and family on the beautiful slopes of the Indonesian island of Krakatoa. But one morning Melati’s peaceful home is shaken by tremors stronger than she’s ever felt before—her sleeping island volcano has awoken!
Across a narrow stretch of water lives Budi, a rhinoceros, with his old friend, Raja, a tiger and the king of the jungle. They are blissfully unaware of the vibrations on Krakatoa until Melati arrives with a warning that they must flee. Raja believes the animals will be safe in the jungle, but Budi worries something terrible is about to happen, and he urges Raja to take action.
As ash rains down on the island and the rumblings worsen, Raja must put aside his fears and trust Budi’s instincts if they are to have any chance at surviving the mighty eruption of Krakatoa . . . and saving the one place they call home.
Told from the animals’ point of view, Eruption At Krakatoa shows the historical events of the 1883 volcanic eruption. However, the story doesn’t just show the devastation of the animal’s habitat. The story also includes information on how the eruption caused devastation on human villages as well as a resulting tsunami that killed many on land and at sea.
While most of the intense action comes from the exploding volcano and the tsunami, Raja’s story adds an interesting element. As king of the jungle, Raja is afraid of humans and lacks leadership skills. Even though the animal kingdom looks to him for guidance, Raja runs from the responsibility and allows fear to control him. Raja’s personal growth and his friendship with Budi are inspiring. Raja learns that not all humans are to be feared because not all humans are bad.
Eruption At Krakatoa is a tale of bravery and friendship. This action-packed story will keep readers flipping the pages until the very end. Readers will relate to the animals, who must overcome fear, injury, and exhaustion in order to survive. The surprising and heartwarming conclusion ends on a hopeful note. The end of the book has historical background, a timeline, and animal facts. The author’s notes tell about Charman’s research and artist William Ashcroft, who painted over five hundred canvases of the atmospheric changes that the eruption caused. Readers should take time to research his paintings.
Both history buffs and animal lovers will enjoy Eruption At Krakatoa. Five black and white pictures are scattered throughout the book and help bring the scenes into sharper focus. Although this story is the fourth book in the Survival Tails Series, each book is an independent story. Readers interested in seeing history through a dog’s eye should add the G.I. Dogs Series by Laurie Calkhoven to their reading list.
- Raja is afraid of humans. When he was a cub, a human injured him. He has a nightmare about the events. “Flames flickered across his vision until it was all he could see and the terrifying feeling of heat against his body returned. The smell of his fur melting as it burned away. . . Then the searing pain as the fire scorched his fur, his body. . .” Raja’s father died trying to help him.
- A boy throws a sac over Melati’s head. “Melati squawked inside the sac, flapping her wings and trying to claw her way free as her heart raced in her chest.” The boy puts Melati in a cage, “poking at her with a thin stick through the bars.” Melati is able to escape.
- The story revolves around an erupting volcano. When it begins to erupt, Budi runs up the mountain, “but the downpour of debris from the island was never-ending.” The humans also run up the mountain. “Many of them were coughing and struggling to breathe. Many more were injured, limping, covered in blood from where they had been hit by the missiles falling from the sky.”
- Melati went to look for a human girl. The bird “swooped and swerved in an attempt to avoid the larger rocks and stones that fell from the sky. A red-hot glowing rock hit the longest of her tail feathers as it fell, and Melati was knocked off course for a moment. She hissed as the sizzling pain flashed through her. . .”
- The noise from the erupting volcano causes a girl to temporarily lose her hearing. Melati noticed “a thin trickle of blood ran down the side of her [a girl’s] face from each of her ears, and she had a gash on her forehead from where a wooden beam had fallen and hit her.”
- The erupting volcano spewed a “wave of heat and gas so fierce that as it reached the humans who lagged behind, they fell to the ground, screaming in agony.” Budi ran but there was no place to hide. “Budi fell to the ground as the wave of steam and gas overtook them, and held his breath, waiting for it all to be over.” Many people and animals were burned.
- Some people died from their burns. Budi was surprised as “the humans helped those who could be helped and covered up those who were gone.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Budi says, “Darn those monkeys!”
- After several earthquakes, ships began keeping their distance from the island. Melati thinks it’s because “some of the humans who had ground up in Sumatra believed that a spirit—Orang Alijeh—watched over the mountains, and she wondered whether the spirit had been angered somehow.”