Celia and Oliver Navel are eleven years old. They are twins (Celia is three minutes and 42 seconds older). They live on the 4 1/2th floor of Number Seven East Seventy-fourth Street.
Number Seven East Seventy-fourth Street is the home of the Explorers Club. Celia and Oliver’s parents, Dr. Navel and Dr. Navel, are the explorers in residence of the club. Or, at least their father is. Their mother went missing some time ago while searching for the Lost Library of Alexandria. That kind of thing happens to explorers. They also trek the globe, climb mountains, and get bitten by exotic lizards.
Celia and Oliver do not much like explorers or trekking the globe or climbing mountains. It’s not so much that Oliver dislikes getting bitten by exotic lizards as he is tired of getting bitten by exotic lizards.
The Navel Twins do like television. Even if they don’t have cable.
Unfortunately for them what looks like a very promising summer spent watching all of their favorite shows and nothing else is cut painfully short when their father once again embarks on an ill-fated expedition with his children (unwillingly) in tow. Along the way, the children will miss all of the favorite shows while facing poison witches, yetis, and a decidedly unusual yak. The good news: If the expedition is successful, the twins might finally get cable. If not . . . well it’s better not to talk about that in We Are Not Eaten by Yaks (2011) by C. Alexander London.*
We Are Not Eaten by Yaks is the first Accidental Adventure chronicling the (mis)adventures of our resourceful, if not intrepid, heroes. Celia and Oliver lack curiosity or interest in anything involving adventure or excitement. They would, truly, be very happy sitting in front of their television all the time. What I like about this story is that their television viewing becomes one of their greatest assets along with the unusual skills acquired by residing with a bunch of dotty explorers.
London uses a conversational and confidential tone to convey facts (some of which are entirely true as explained in the author’s note at the end of the book) and move the story through the twin’s daily lives and their adventures in Tibet.
Filled with action, mayhem, and lots of television shows (of course) We Are Not Eaten by Yaks is a clever adventure reminiscent of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events and other books featuring reluctant heroes who, in this case, might have more mettle than they realize. This is a promising introduction two unlikely heroes and an exciting start to a new series for readers (and explorers).
*The book also features artwork by Jonny Duddle which, if the cover is any indication, will be pretty neat. I cannot comment further because the artwork was not in the advanced copy I received for review.
Possible Pairings: The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley, The Flight of the Phoenix by R. L. LaFevers and Kelly Murphy, Jungle Crossing by Sydney Salter, The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
The book was received for review from the author. (Who I know in real life. I’m kind of friends with an author, just saying.)
Exclusive Bonus Content: Some very unscientific research revealed that December 5 is Explorers Day. It may or may not be related to this petition to rename Columbus Day as National Explorers Day to offer a fuller picture of the people who helped discover (and map) our world. I have no other information about the day or what it celebrates specifically, but it seemed like the perfect time to post a review about explorers even if Celia and Oliver aren’t generally fans of exploring or explorers themselves.