Mark's video game playing is interrupted by a visitor. Opening the door, Mark comes face to face with a leathery, authentic shrunken head. The head is presented as a gift for the boy from an older woman wearing sinister black specs, who claims the head is a gift from the boy's Aunt Benna. The woman introduces herself as Carolyn, a co-worker of AuntBenna's on the island of Baladora, where the two do scientific work.
Carolyn assures the family that Aunt Benna had written of her visit in advance and Mark's mother invites Carolyn to stay the night. Overnight, the strange shrunken head begins to glow as it rests on top of Mark's dresser, eventually shining brightly and floating towards him in bed. Mark understandably freaks out and runsaround screaming that the head is alive, however no one believes him. He takes his mother and sister back into his room to show them the glowing head, only to find the head missing. Jessica produces the head from behind her back, where she has given it a long scratch from roughhousing. Mark freaks out about her mishandling of the head. Mark calms down and heads back to bed, but not before noticingCarolyn staring at him from the hallway.
The next morning, Mark's mom surprises him with the best news he could receive so early in the day. Aunt Benna sent Carolyn to visit so she could bring Mark back with her to the island to visit! Jessica complains that she wasn't invited, but twelve year old Mark continues to gloat and dance, bragging that the jungle is just too dangerous for kids. Carolynand Mark fly out to the small island on a little plane and the pilot informs them that since he never learned how to land, they'll have to jump out of the plane. Oh and also there are no parachutes, so they should aim to land on something soft. The nutty pilot then reveals he's just a jokester and that he said that to prepare Mark for thinking fast in the jungle.
The pilot safely drops them offon the island and leaves. Carolyn informs Mark that Ernesto, the pilot, is their only contact on and off the island, but he can arrive within an hour of them calling the mainland. Mark is very excited to see his aunt, whom he has not seen since she last visited him when he was four years old. Carolyn leads Mark into a scientific-looking building where he meets a white haired scientist named Dr.Hawlings, whom he initially mistakes for his aunt.
Dr. Hawlings introduces Mark to his twelve year old blonde daughter, Kareen, who has shining blue eyes just like her father. Mark tries to be nice to the pretty girl but Kareen is a bit of a brat and complains a lot. Mark asks where his aunt is and is informed that no one knows. They brought Mark to the island not because his aunt invited him, butbecause they thought he could help them find her. You see, Carolyn and Dr. Hawlings believe that Mark has Jungle Magic.
Kareen tries to get her father to lay off Mark, but Dr. Hawlings is convinced that Mark's Aunt gave her nephew Jungle Magic for safe keeping when he was four years old, and that Mark can use the Jungle Magic he possesses to help them find his missing aunt. Mark and Kareen bothhave a hard time believing in Jungle Magic, mainly since it's Jungle Magic and is called Jungle Magic. According to the notebooks Aunt Benna left behind, since Mark saw the shrunken head glow, he must possess Jungle Magic. Dr. Hawlings stresses that the ancient jungle tribe of the Oloyans were the ones who shrunk not only the head in Mark's possession but the hundreds of other shrunken heads...