This is the second day out for the Playdate Adventure Club, and, this time, Katy, Cassie and Zia are heading to the Arctic.
Like all young girls, Zia and her friends adore going to one another’s house after school to play. It’s the last day of term and they can’t wait to finish class and get back to Zia’s house. When they do, they are delighted that the magic from their last adventure has returned, to whisk them off for a picnic at the North Pole!
The trip is rather more complicated than they might have imagined and the three girls (as well as their talking cat, Thunder) are forced to compete in the Arctic Games against polar bears, orcas and hares, to prove that they deserve a place on the picnic rug. While the friends try to avoid pneumonia in the swimming, jumping and weightlifting competitions, they learn that the North Pole is melting…and that it is their fault.
The story is an engaging way to introduce young readers to the themes of global warming and climate change. The children feel responsible for human impact upon the environment, and learn that there are more important things to worry about than fluffy white polar bears and snowflake-shaped sandwiches. It is an empowering story, too. Zia and her friends want to do all they can to help, and don’t give up just because it’s difficult.
This series celebrates the everyday pleasures of childhood friendship, and readers will recognise the three girls’ characteristics: brave and confident; fun and argumentative; shy and intelligent. Despite an extraordinary setting and magical talking animals, The North Pole Picnic has a simple charm throughout and, though it won’t raise readers’ heart rates, it is good, wholesome fun.