‘Mum was shaking me hard. Too hard. Her knuckles were white as she gripped my shoulders. I felt like crying out, but I didn’t. Maybe because Mum’s voice was filled with fear… We have to move fast! They’re coming!’
Anh Do, bestselling author of the WeirDo, Hotdog! and Ninja Kid series, needs no introduction. His books are regularly listed in the Weekly Top 10 bestseller list and your children have probably devoured each new instalment that hit the shelves. However, you may not be familiar with his exciting new series for older readers – Wolf Girl.
Wolf Girl is all action from the outset when we meet Gwen and her family as they are forced to urgently flee their home. It’s unclear as to why but in any case, they pile into the car and take off – as do many other families. In a mass exodus, the cars that are travelling on the road around them are also filled with people, bags and pets. Gwen questions where they are going and why but her parents aren’t forthcoming with the details – which sets the tone for something ominous…
This is followed up with a sudden explosion and with smoke in the air and another explosion imminent, Gwen’s survival instinct kicks in and she runs until she can run no more.
However, once she reaches safety in the middle of nearby woods, she finds herself alone. Not only is there no one else in sight but she has no idea where her family is. She’s alone in the dark, with a pounding head and a desperate thirst.
Yet it’s not long until unexpected company arrives in the form of a wolf puppy. ‘She was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life. A puppy, golden as a sunrise, with eyes a brilliant turquoise. She had a black patch in the shape of a diamond on her forehead.’
The baby wolf is soon dubbed ‘Puppy’ and joined by three more dogs, pets that have lost their owners, and so a new family starts to form. Gwen and her pack return to the cars and set themselves up with all the supplies they can find, sleep in cars when it’s cold and start hunting each day. Life is far from easy but a new kind of normal starts to settle in and Gwen is accepted as the head of her small new animal family.
Then one day Gwen remembers that she originally set out to find her family no matter what. Can she and her new family manage to find out what has happened to all the other people and locate Gwen’s family?
This is an intriguing, fast paced series and while the language and writing style make it an easy read, it’s thought provoking. It will immediately appeal to 10+ readers that are interested in adventure and exploring what people can achieve in extreme situations.
As with Ahn Do’s previous books, Wolf Girl will appeal to both boys and girls although it’s pleasing to see that the main character in this new series is a girl. There will of course be more to come (lots more if the previous series are anything to go on!), so if your little reader loves this then they’ll be eagerly awaiting the next. This time it won’t have children in fits of laughter but rather hanging on to the edge of their seats!
Anh Do is one of Australia’s best-loved and bestselling writers for children. He is also an artist, an entrepreneur, a comedian, an actor, a TV personality, a producer and sought-after speaker.
In 2010 he released The Happiest Refugee, his enormously popular memoir detailing his journey from war-torn Vietnam to Australia. In 2016 he created Anh’s Brush with Fame for the ABC, in which he interviews a celebrity while painting their portrait. He has twice been nominated for the Archibald Prize, and took out the People’s Choice award 2017.
His junior fiction series WeirDo, Hotdog! and Ninja Kid are adored by millions of kids around the country. And in his amazing new series Wolf Girl, Anh brings his talent for breakneck plots and brilliant characters to a slightly older audience.