The secret cave by Anh Do
Wolf Girl book 3. Allen and Unwin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760876371.
(Ages: 8+). Highly recommended. The secret cave is the third exciting instalment in the Anh Do series about a young girl, Gwen, her pack of dogs and new member Rupert who are fighting for survival in a dystopian world. The two children are searching for their parents and the dogs are searching for their owners. The story begins with Gwen and Rupert having evidence of their parents' whereabouts and heading into the forest being chased by the evil Fran and seven soldiers. The pack outwits the enemy but one of the dogs, Zip, is badly injured. On the hunt for a healing herb, the pack is surrounded by many cats hissing and waiting to attack. Their leader is Ma Taylor who has survived the bombs and lives in a treehouse with the cats. She has her own sad story just like Gwen and Rupert. She helps heal Zip and the pack spends the night there before using a procured GPS to track down the truck which took imprisoned adults out of the previous camp. The pack heads off and finds a cave leading into a mountain where captured workers are carving out rocks that are rumoured to contain minerals with hidden powers. Gwen and the pack free the workers and while some reunions happen with the dogs and their owners, Gwen and Rupert's parents are not amongst the freed slaves. However there is a glimmer of hope and more will be revealed in Book 4.
Ahn Do continues to write with an intuitive understanding of what children want to read - danger, thwarting the enemy, excitement, hope, belonging and trust. The illustrations by Lachlan Creagh are perfectly placed throughout the book and add to the drama of each event. Themes: Family, Children alone, Adventure, Survival, Trust, Animals, Danger.