Karen Foxlee: Miss Mary Kate Martin’s Guide to Monsters – The Wrath of the Woolington Wyrm (Pushkin Press 2023 – originally published by Allen & Unwin Australia in 2022)
Mary-Kate Martin gets upset about a lot of things, like brown colored pencils or mismatched clothes. But now she is shocked to find that a huge fire-breathing monster that, according to legends, lives in the Woolington Well, does not frighten her, but rather excited her to investigate its mystery. Mary-Kate accompanies her archaeologist mother to the countryside, where she has to excavate an old well, in the place of which the owner of the surrounding land wants to build a large shopping center. Mary-Kate must find out if there is any truth to the old legends before it’s too late.
There are two types of monster hunters, one that hunts monsters to harm them and the other that hunts monsters to help them*. The incredibly sweet story reveals which group Mary-Kate and her new friend Arabella belong to, but we can guess it ourselves. Anxiety is also depicted very vividly in the book, which is relatively slow-paced, but this way we can investigate together with the girls. It became one of my favorite reads this year. I recommend it to everyone!
Australian writer Karen Foxlee grew up in a remote mining town in Australia and still dreams about walking barefoot along the dry Leichhardt River. She also writes books for children and young adults, which have already won several prestigious literary awards. So far, the Miss Mary-Kate Martin’s Guide to Monsters series have two volumes published in Australia and the third book will come next January. In the UK, the second volume will be published in March. The illustrations of the books were made by the Australian illustrator Freda Chiu.