I love books and have done so from a very young age. However, I also admit to loving certain TV shows, the Amazing Race being one of them. I enjoy seeing the wide range of locations across the world used by the race. My husband and I like discussing what we would do if faced with the challenges the contestants are given. I think this is why I was especially drawn to the Race the Wild series by Kristin Earhart. To me, it is like a rated-G blend of the Amazing race TV show and nature documentaries.
Race the Wild by Kristin Earhart
The Race the Wild series is about a contest for teams of kids that takes place around the world. The race’s challenges are presented in a riddle format. In order to succeed, the teams must draw upon their knowledge of animals, plants, and the environment to complete the challenges, typically by photographing a specific animal or plant. The chapters of each book are separated by a brief nonfiction passage about a specific animal, plant, ecosystem, or biome. After finishing a leg of the race successfully, teams are whisked off to another location to compete in the subsequent leg.
Like mysteries, races and competitions have built-in suspense and drama. The questions, “Who is going to win this leg of the race?” and “Who is going to win the entire race?,” are always there pulsing in the background. Despite this, it took several chapters for our daughters to become invested in the series. However, once they were in, they were completely hooked.
As a parent, I appreciated that the series struck a balance between moving the plot along and presenting facts about wildlife. I also liked that the series places a heavy emphasis on the importance of teamwork. Each book in the series is written from a different team member’s perspective, which helps to provide insight on how each team member copes with frustrations of the race and learns to work with the others. A final selling point for me was the gender balance and diversity among the characters of the series.
Have you enjoyed other books about competitions or races? I’m looking forward to reading the Lemoncello’s Library series by Chris Grabenstein and the Candymakers series by Wendy Mass with our daughters when they are older. Feel free to leave additonal recommendations here!