Engine Trouble Chapter 5

Category: Engine Trouble

River view 300pxThe MatakanaMatakana RiverRiver is a mangrovemangrove creek for a few kilometreskilometres from the estuary.estuary. Its banks are thick, deep mud, with mangrove trees growinggrowing very close together. The roots stick up in the air, and are quite sharp – no one walks about on the banks of a mangrove creek unlessunless they have to. As they came aroundaround one bend intointo a sunnysunny stretch of the river, Tim said, “Please let uslet’s    stop and watch the crabs.”

“What crabs?” askedasked Ricki, and Mrs Gale and Mia and Mr Gale lookedlooked and looked, but no one could see anythinganything but mud and mangrove roots.

“They heard us talking,”talking,” Tim said, “and they havethey’ve     poppedpopped into those holes. There were thousands of them.”

“Well, we willwe’ll    row close into the bank and then stay quiet until they come out again,”again,” said Mr Gale. EveryoneEveryone could see that the steep side of the mud bank was full of hundredshundreds of small round holes. They stayedstayed watchingwatching very quietlyquietly for some minutes,minutes, and then the crabs that Tim had seen beganbegan one by one to come sidewayssideways out of these holes.


Summarise what has happened so far in this narrative.

Clarify these words: mangrove, creek, kilometres, estuary, banks, stretch, popped, sideways.

Retell what has happened in this chapter.

Make inferences and give opinions about:

  • What a mangrove creek is.
  • Why people don't like to walk on them. 
  • Why crabs might like to live in them.
  • Why the Gales watched very quietly for some minutes.


What prediction can you make about what might happen next?

What question could you ask about this chapter?

Visualise these uses of descriptive language: banks are thick, deep mud; mangrove trees growing very close together; came around one bend into a sunny stretch of the river; popped into those holes; steep side of the mud banks full of hundreds of small round holes; began one by one to come sideways out of these holes.

Make a connection with this chapter.

Word Study

Verb endings: What happens when we add sed or ing to: grow, stick, come, stretch, watch, hear, pop, see, begin.

Other affixes: What happens when we add other prefixes and suffixes like y, ly to these words: sun, quiet.

What two words make up these compound words: kilometresaroundanything, again, everyone, sideways.

What two words are contracted here: let's, they've, we'll.