Toxic: A rainforest adventure that might just be deadly.

Toxic: A rainforest adventure that might just be deadly.

By Author / Illustrator

Mitch Johnson



Age range(s)







Paperback / softback




Hidden in the heart of the rainforest lies a secret... can three friends survive long enough to find it? An action-packed jungle adventure, perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell's The Explorer and M.G. Leonard's Twitch.

Billionaire beauty mogul Anura Hegarty has pledged to acquire as much of the rainforest as possible to preserve it. But when armed guards appear and bring in portable terrariums to capture wildlife, Jessica and her friend Renata realise something much more sinister is going on.

The rainforest holds a frog with a secret to staying young forever, and Jessica and Renata know they must find and save it first! Together with Briony-Rose, the girls journey deeper into the rainforest.  Danger and betrayal lurk in every corner, and soon they're running for their lives, dodging blow darts and falling into traps. Will the children make it out of the forest alive?

Praise for Mitch Johnson:  'Fizzes with adventure and great characters who pop from the page' - Peter Bunzl, bestselling author of Cogheart.  'I read it all in one gulp!' - Ross Welford, bestselling author of Time Travelling with a Hamster.  'A bonkers Willy-Wonka nightmare designed to get children thinking about the effects of everything they buy' - Ross Montgomery, bestselling author of The Midnight Guardians. 'An exploding soda geyser of a book - an adventure story that will make you laugh, make you angry and make you want to do something to fix this crazy, messed up world' - Charlie Higson, bestselling author of Young Bond and The Enemy.



Jessica moves around the world with her scientist parents. She finds each move difficult as she has to make new friends and then leave them. This time the family are in South America, in the heart of the rainforest, while her parents research frogs. Jessica meets a local girl, Renata, and they quickly strike up a friendship.

Meanwhile, the most beautiful woman in the world, Anura Hegarty, a cosmetics billionaire, is buying up large areas of the rainforest. She is looking for a mythical frog and will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means destroying the rainforest.

Mitch Johnson writes books with a hard-hitting message and whilst each story is completely different, the message is similar. As with Toxic, it is about looking after the planet and large faceless corporations behaving irresponsibly. The rainforest is important to the whole world and as such needs protecting, but the destruction chronicled in this book is not a story and happens all the time. Jessica and Renata realise the rainforest itself is in peril and set out to save it and the message is clear- each one of us is responsible for saving the planet as well as destroying it.

This tremendously exciting story takes the reader right into the rainforest to experience the terror that is the environment there. Knowing about the snakes, I'm not sure I could even set foot in there, but the two girls realise they have a duty towards that place.

From the very start this book makes it clear that the rainforest should be left alone and that it is a very dangerous but essential place. The story might not be true, but the message it carries most certainly is.

288 pages /  Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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