Five children have 28 days to map a rail route through the mountains in this exciting adventure-race for middle readers.

Sal, Joe, Francie and Humphrey misplace their mother as they begin the Great Race to map a rail route through an uncharted wilderness. Their money is gone and their father didn’t come back from his last adventure. This race is their last chance.

They have twenty-eight days to find and map the best route. There’ll be bears, bees, bats, river crossings, cliff falls, impossible weather—but worst of all, they’re racing five teams of adults who don’t play by the rules.

by Eirlys Hunter


  • Finalist Premio Strega Ragazze e Ragazzi 2024 (Italian edn.)
  • IBBY Honour List 2020
  • Best 50 Kids Books 2018, The Listener (NZ)


“One of the most poised, stylish children’s books I’ve read in a long time … just an utter delight” Kate De Goldi


“An adventure story of such quality and originality, pace and punch.” – Bookwagon


“Hunter has crafted a a thrilling adventure tale that stands ably among classic kids adventure tales by E Nesbit or Enid Blyton.” – Sara Keating, The Irish Times


“What a great story! I gobbled it straight up.” – Children’s Bookshop Kilbirnie


“A scrumptious adventure with danger, pathos, a hilarious mix of villains and a crucial deadline.” – Barbara Else, author


“The Mapmakers Race is an exciting credible well-paced adventure story. One of those now hard-to-find junior fiction novels that have no parents in the action. The kids individually and as a group are so credibly drawn, I loved them all, their strengths and weaknesses. Lots of great celebrations of food!” – Unity Books


“This rip-roaring adventure about four kids and a parrot called Carrot is classic read-aloud fare. Sans parents, the resourceful Santanders persist in their quest to map a route through hostile terrain, against dastardly adult competition, using only the most basic equipment and sister Francie’s gift of envisioning the landscape from above. A winner.” – Best 50 Kids Books 2018


“A thrilling and thoroughly enjoyable adventure full of setbacks and dangers and family squabbling, but also fun and laughter and the thrill of exploration and storytelling around campfires under the open stars.” – Children’s Books Ireland


“Hints of steampunk and magic. This sets it in good stead to entertain younger readers, and not seem too childish for others.” – Otago Daily Times

Gecko Press | pb | 248 pp | 2018 | 10+

Rights sold: Italian, all other rights available, except Chinese