World Burn Down

World Burn Down

By Author / Illustrator

Steve Cole, Oriol Vidal



Age range(s)



Barrington Stoke Ltd




Paperback / softback




Carlos's mother works for IBAMA, Brazil's Environmental Authority. As head of a specially trained task force, her role is to protect the Amazon from the farmers, loggers and miners who are illegally destroying the precious rainforest. It's a dangerous role and when she upsets some of these land-grabbers, they decide to teach her a lesson by kidnapping her son, Carlos. Taken deep into the Amazon, Carlos manages to escape his captors only to find himself trapped by the fast-moving fires. Will he be able to outrun the flames as the world around him burns to the ground? The terrifying reality of illegal deforestation and the destruction of the rainforest is revealed in this powerful and gripping Amazonian adventure from bestselling author Steve Cole. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+



World Burn Down is a thrilling adventure story with a strong environmental message. Carlos Feliz lives with his mother in Manaus, Brazil. She is a soldier working for the Special Forces Group of IBAMA - the environment agency, and her job is to protect the Amazon rainforest from the illegal farming, logging and mining that are causing deforestation and threatening the environment. Carlos resents his mother's job because it takes her away from home - and from him - so much.

At the outset of the story we are plunged straight into drama as Carlos is kidnapped by criminals who are trying to prevent his mother from doing her job. He is tied up, thrown into a jeep and driven into the rainforest where forest fires are raging. When the jeep crashes, Carlos manages to escape. Alone in the forest, he is lost. All around him, he sees land that has been burnt and destroyed and Carlos begins to realise why his mother's job is so important; he sees the rainforest in a whole new light.

This is a real page turner. The author moves the story along at a terrific pace, and very cleverly includes information about the rainforest and those who are destroying it for profit. This is seamlessly woven into the storyline and does not interrupt the flow of the narrative in any way.

Carlos is a great character; he is brave and even when events turn against him he never gives up. Davi is a lovely addition to the book, he has had a sad life and now lives alone but he loves his surroundings and, even when Carlos offers to take him back to the city to live he prefers to stay and 'fight' for his land.

The author's notes at the end of the book are very interesting, giving an insight into why he wanted to write the book. Any teacher who is working on environmental themes with a class would find this book a very useful addition to their lessons - the author teaches us about the horrors of land grabbing in the Amazon in an exciting and easily accessible way.

The illustrations, by Oriol Vidal, are extremely good; in one section of the book Carlos and Davi emerge from the green of the forest into a huge burnt-out clearing, and the accompanying illustration is so powerful, really bringing home the extent of the devastation caused by the forest fires.

All in all, an exciting and thought provoking read.

120 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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