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The Picture Book Buzz

Field Trip to Volcano Island - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

I was so excited that John created a third picture book for his field trip series! This is another fun, wordless, picture book adventure full of humor, imagination, and friendship. Like the other two, it is exciting and poignant, with a little touch of science.

Field Trip to Volcano Island

Author/illustrator: John Hare

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books/Penguin Random House (2022)

Ages: 4-8



Volcanoes, field trips, exploration, friendship, empathy, and imagination.


John Hare’s rich, atmospheric art invites all children to imagine themselves in the story – a story full of surprises and adorable new friends.

The same students we met in Field Trip to the Moon and Field Trip to the Ocean Deep travel to a volcano island on a yellow school bus helicopter. When they get there, one student picks flowers as they hike to the top and then accidentally slips down a crater and can’t get out.

The student isn’t too worried--especially when he meets a lava monster and its children who are fascinated by the flowers. But when they touch them, they burn beyond recognition so the student teaches them how to make a vase using lava from a lava pit, fills it with water from a canteen, and they all sit back to enjoy the flower arrangement until help arrives and rescues the student.

What I LOVED about this book:

Taking off in a "school bus chopper," the class once again embarks on an adventure. In a nod to the previous book, Field Trip to the Ocean Deep, the title page shows a submarine docked along-side the awesome multi-story floating school.

When the helicopter lands on Volcano Island, the kids unload and head off on an adventure. Near the back of the line, are the kid with the camera (from Field Trip to the Ocean Deep), the kid with the note pad (Field Trip to the Moon), and the main character of this book - engrossed in a field of flowers. I love how once again the kids are in specialized protective suits, making the reader focus on their body language through most of the book.

© John Hare, 2022.

While the class wanders across the lush tropical island, discovering an historic eruption path, a bubbling mud pot, a spouting geyser, and a lava flow, the main character focuses on the flowers. He collects some of each variety they pass, making a flower chain by tucking them into his canteen strap. And in a sweet moment, he even offers one to the teacher. John Hare's done a superb job capturing the individual personalities of the kids and the teacher as they interact with each other and the volcano.

© John Hare, 2022.

After hiking to the ridge, and peering into the caldera (with a brilliant, deep blue ocean in the background), the class heads back toward their helicopter. When a sudden gust of wind blows the kid's flowers into the caldera, he scoots a little way down and reaches for them. Triggering a rockslide that carries him and the flowers to the bottom. He immediately rescues the flowers. Then tries to climb up the steep slope. After sliding back down. he comes face to face with a lava monster and its lavalings who, it turns out, are also enthralled with flowers. Unfortunately, flowers and lava don't mix.

© John Hare, 2022.

With a bit of compassion, creativity, and coaching the kid helps the lava creatures find a solution and a fun way to wait for his rescue. Be sure to keep an eye on the lava monster's steam, in addition to its amazingly expressive face. The ending is a touching and happy one for all. The bright, colorful illustrations are so full of little details and fun elements to discover. For instance, returning to the dedication page, one can trace the classes entire journey. This is a wonderful addition to John's wordless picture book series of field trip adventures, wrapping a little bit of science, imagination, empathy, and friendship into a fun book on volcanoes.


- create your own bouquet of colorful flowers (

- who helps the kid wait for the teacher's return? Did they have to make friends or could they have remained hidden? Why do you think they chose to make friends with a strange kid in a weird suit?

- where would you go on a field trip? What would your vehicle look like? What would you find there? Draw a picture or write a story about your field trip.

If you missed it, be sure to check out Monday's interview with John Hare (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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