Reviews /

The Trouble with the Two Headed Hydra

Authored by Karen Foxlee
Illustrated by Freda Chiu
Published by Pushkin Children's Books

The Trouble with the Two Headed Hydra is the second book in Karen Foxlee’s, Miss Mary-Kate Martin’s Guide to Monsters. The cover of this book is so pretty it deserves its own mention. Illustrated by Freda Chiu, it is dotted with wonderful cameos of the characters. Mary-Kate’s grandmother deserves a special mention, as does her cat. I doubt any readers could resist a granny like this!

Mary-Kate is a shy girl with a penchant for fashion and in particular sparkly fashion. Her mother is a renowned archaeologist; hence she gets to travel to quite exotic places and takes Mary-Kate with her. This adventure is set in Greek island, Galinos where Mary-Kate’s mother is looking at an ancient mosaic has been discovered. Karen really transports you to Greece with her descriptions and her characters, their names in particular reflecting their culture.

As in the previous book a mystery unfolds, this time around an ancient monster, the Two Headed Hydra. A message asking for help arrives and Mary-Kate has to investigate, this time ably teamed with a local tour guide Nico. Boats are being destroyed, mysterious goings on involving a sardine factory and all is very fishy (sorry).

This is a totally charming adventure story with lots of Greek myths, peril, jeopardy and challenges along the way. It is a fun, fantasy story based around a young girl who finds life challenging at times but has worked out strategies to ease difficult situations for her and give her the opportunity to be brave. Thought-provoking, with an environmental strand that will give plenty of opportunity for discussion.

Mary-Kate is an interesting protagonist that will appeal to readers  of 7 years and above in many different ways. Whilst the story is written in a gentle way this certainly does not distract from the suspense and anticipation of the mystery as it unravels. Of course, there is a good resolution and no doubt Mary-Kate in her sparkly red shoes and holding her strawberry notebook and gel pens will be back to have more monster adventures.