Reviewed by Wendy Lipke
The Wolf Girl adventure series is written for 8-14-year-old readers by Vietnamese-born Australian Anh Do. What a versatile person this author is. Not only does he write books, but he is often seen gracing our screens as the portrait painter in Anh’s Brush with Fame or in movies or as a stand-up comedian.
His first novel The Happiest Refugee was written in 2010 and won several awards. Since then he has branched into writing for younger readers starting with The Little Refugee (with Bruce Whatley) in 2011. Many of his books have become series. The first of the WeirDo books was published in 2013, the Hot Dog books 2016, Ninja Kids 2018, Wolf Girl 2019, Mythix books 2019 and in 2020 Skydragon and E-Boy. Other books have been added to each series since then.
Wolf Girl 4, the Traitor is the first of this author’s books that I have read. Apparently, his other children’s series have been written for a slightly younger cohort than the Wolf Girl series. Book four of Wolf Girl continues the action-packed adventures of a young girl and her pack which consists of a young boy, several dogs of different breeds, an eagle, and a wolf.
Much of their adventure occurs in an old, overgrown Reptile World which has been long- abandoned leaving the exhibits to fend for themselves. The group find themselves trying to escape from Komodo dragons, an anaconda, and various other reptiles. One puzzle I did have was where Wolf Girl kept all the stones that she used to fend off the attackers.
This book is an easy read with a larger than usual font and illustrations on nearly every page. These were the work of Lachlan Creagh a freelance illustrator and concept designer. Another work which has benefited from his talent is the Robert Irwin Dinosaur Hunter series. He has also completed his own children’s book, Dinosaur Rocks and created animation, concepts, and illustrations for games on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and next-generation consoles. His work in this book would greatly enhance the reading experience for the younger child.
The storyline of Wolf Girl reminded me a little of John Marsden’s series, Tomorrow When the War Began. Both books have soldiers taking over and parents being separated from their children. As the children are the only ones free, it is up to them to try to find their families whilst staying out of the clutches of the soldiers. The Wolf Girl series has been written for a much younger demographic than Marsden’s books.
Who is the traitor? How will this affect the group? Will they get caught by the soldiers? The answers to these questions form part of the storyline.
I enjoyed this story and am sure young readers would love to follow this group as they try to achieve their goal. With over 100,000 copies of the Wolf Girl series having been sold to date, it is obvious that Anh Do already has a captive audience for his children’s fiction.
The Traitor: Wolf Girl 4
By Anh Do
Allen & Unwin