Clara’s nickname is Little Mouse – she is small, shy and ordinary. Or that is what she thinks. However, when she discovers that she is a wildwitch her life is turned upside down. She must face Chimera and pass the four trials by fire. How can she succeed? And who – or what – is the cat? Friend or foe?
Lene Kaaberbol may already been known to some readers for her excellent Shamer Chronicles. She is an author to welcome back. Here her audience is a little younger – KS2 – and will attract readers who may have discovered writers like Angie Sage, Sage Blackwood and most recently Abi Elphinstone. Nor will it disappoint. Clara is a believable heroine who will win the support of young readers; her trials are demanding without being gruesome and Chimera is a scary opponent. The framework of the narrative will be familiar but it is well crafted and well handled, ensuring the pages turn swiftly. The translation is smooth, the prose style well crafted and there are just enough illustrations to break the text up without disturbing the narrative flow while allowing a little visual pleasure.
This is a novel to recommend to young readers Year 3 and up. It is the first in a series and I am looking forward to meeting Cat again; a relation of Carbonel, perhaps?