The story is about four children. These are Vanessa, Buzz, Jane, and Carter. They are shipwrecked on an uncharted island in the South Pacific. This starts after a 5-day boat expedition in Hawaii is foiled by an unexpected storm. The new stepsiblings are caught in the middle of the storm as they try to abandon a ship.
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Their parents are away honeymooning in Hawaii oblivious to the danger to which their children are exposed. It was meant to be a family trip where the children would go fishing with their uncle as the newly married parents spent time together. Their uncle and first-mate get on the life raft, but the boat is blown away by the gale while they are inside.
They are forced to make their way from the wrecked boat and head to the island with its numerous dangers. A wild boar charges at them even before they can find a place to settle. It badly scares them. They realize that their lives on the island will be a perpetual struggle for survival in a place where virtually anything can harm or even kill them.
They are forced to learn how to survive with almost nothing, but a knife, two blankets, a pot ax, and a pillowcase. They also have a pair of pens, a book, and a backpack. Throughout the story, the author shifts the narrative perspective among the children as it becomes clear that basic tasks, such as looking for water, making fires, and even getting food, are becoming near life and death struggles. Each of the children is exemplified by unique strengths.
For example, Carter is an expert in outdoor events. Buzz, who is the opposite, nevertheless has gleaned a lot from TV and has several helpful hints. It is evident that the writer has experience in marooned plots. He renders an intriguing account of the stranded children. The most outstanding feature of his storytelling technique is the vivid description through which the reader sees, feels, and even smells the island through the children’s perspectives.
The chill of the sea breeze and the pain and thrill of climbing the hills are described in a very clear manner. The fear of being surrounded by wild boars in a place where your companions are the only humans around is very real for the reader.
They learn very quickly that survival is not an individual game, but a team sport. Thus, they must back each other in every step of the way or end up harming themselves or each other. In this context, the children are less inclined to kill each other, which is a good illustration of the cooperation at times of need.
They, however, have to deal with several interpersonal challenges as their personalities clash and they have serious disagreements. They have to decide whether water is more important than shelter. Although it is not initially quite obvious, they are forced to learn that they had to either work together as a team or perish.
In the end, they manage to resolve all the challenges and hold together until they are finally rescued from being reunited with the rest of their family. The story teaches that perseverance is a critical attribute that persons should have to succeed in life. Also, people should work together to achieve common goals.