Review: Kat Wolfe Takes The Case by Lauren St John
‘And not just any dragon,’ said her father. ‘If I’m not mistaken, it’s a two-hundred-million-years-old dracoraptor, breathing fire across the ages. It’s so perfectly preserved that one could almost believe it capable of springing from its sandstone tomb to hunt again.’
(Kat Wolfe Takes The Case by Lauren St John. P45.)
A pair of Hollywood actors arrive in Bluebell Bay, a strange explosion causes a cliff slide and a rare dragon fossil is unearthed on the beach. Kat Wolfe and Harper Lamb are thrilled by all the exciting things happening in their local area.
Then an apparently innocent man confesses to the murder of his old friend. The girls begin investigating the death and uncover a whole web of dangerous secrets.
Meanwhile, a series of sheep attacks put Kat’s wild cat Tiny in trouble and he is threatened by an animal control officer. Can Kat and Harper solve the mystery and save Tiny before it is too late?
The second book in the Wolf & Lamb Mysteries series brings together a huge number of strange situations and ends in a conclusion which is both satisfying and brilliant in that it offers huge potential for the rest of the series. A new Lauren St John story is always exciting and this book is no exception. With her trademark mix of environmental narratives, Famous Five fluffiness and modern-day technology, Lauren St John has written a page-turner.
Kat Wolfe and Harper Lamb met in the first book. With Harper’s coding and language skills and Kat’s intuition and love of animals, the girls were already a strong team. Add Edith, a librarian for life, and new character Kai and the range of skills is formidable.
Kai’s own story builds across the story without distracting us from the main action. During the introduction, we learn that his father, a Chinese herbalist, has been threatened by masked men. Kai’s own quest puts him in touch with Harper and Kat.
As well as strong themes about caring for the world, this book shows how preconceived ideas and prejudice cause people to make uninformed judgments. This is about the good guys picking on good people, and Kat and Harper are as guilty of it as anyone else. When they are called out by their friend Edith, they face up to it admirably and then Kat starts seeing it everywhere. Fear of homeless people, unkindness towards stay dogs and assumptions about a bright young man who dropped out of education. With every person who makes a poorly informed judgement, these characters suffer another setback. Themes like this have never been more important in children’s literature. With politicians, news outlets and policies spouting discrimination, change needs to come from the bottom up. We will never fight prejudice and hate crime until we face up to the problems caused by basically good people making casual statements.
Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for my gifted copy. Opinions my own.