Title: The Wrath of the Woolington Wyrm
Author: Karen Foxlee
Published: May 31, 2022
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Readership: Middle Grade
Genre: Magical Realism
Content/trigger warnings: anxiety
I received a copy of The Wrath of the Woolington Wyrm from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Miss Mary-Kate Martin might be anxious, but she’s not scared of monsters. Travelling the globe with her famous archaeologist mother, Mary-Kate helps solve legendary problems in this fun fantasy adventure suitable for fans of the Travelling Bookshop or the Magnolia Moon series.
Dressed in sparkly red shoes and carrying her strawberry-scented notebook, Mary-Kate is accompanying her archaeologist mother to the tranquil English countryside to investigate some interesting bones found in an old well. But once they arrive, they realise that the village of Woolington is not as peaceful as it seems. Mysterious noises, earth tremors and a terrifying legend have the locals frightened.
Could there be any truth in the myth of the beast who lives in the ancient well? And if so, why would it return? Mary-Kate might be anxious, but she is not afraid to get to the bottom of this monstrous mystery.
A delightful fantasy-adventure from the award-winning and bestselling author of Lenny’s Book of Everything and Dragon Skin, with lively line illustrations by Freda Chiu.
This book is a fun middle-grade magical realism story about a young girl, Mary-Kate, who’s struggling with her anxiety. But when her archaeologist mother is called out to investigate some bones in the middle of a construction site, Mary-Kate goes with her and finds herself investigating a monster mystery in a small countryside town.
I loved that this book features a young girl working through her anxiety. Mary-Kate is a well-rounded protagonist who recognises her anxiety and has coping strategies for it. It was great to see it laid out so plainly without artifice. While she finds herself in a new place, Mary-Kate is immediately swept up in the mystery which gives her something else to focus on, too, which stops her dwelling on her fears.
There was a very charming quality about the story, too, set in the countryside with some entertaining supporting characters and a great mystery. I liked that there was a history to the mystery of the Woolington Wyrm, and that everyone in the town seemed to have their own viewpoint or opinion on exactly what it was and what it had done.
I’d be very interested in continuing to read this middle grade series as it’s released. It was easy to read and entertaining and a good time all round.