Tom Hassler and the rats of Droolmoan Cave is the first book in a new series for children that shows a great deal of promise - the characters are likeable and believable, and the world feels very firmly like it could be "our" world. The idea behind the series appears to be raising awareness about the natural world around us and the dangers we and other animals represent, but it is not a bogged down didactic story - there is flow and charm here that is usually missing from stories that try and beat you over the head with their message. Wilson has managed to wrangle a lot of charm into what is a simple but extremely well written story for children and 'tweens. There is a sense of wonder and magic, but there is also a sense of danger and horror - and unlike some other authors Wilson does not shy away from an appropriate and "cringy" ending for the bad guy.
Hopefully Wilson will continue to write books in the Tom Hassler universe. He has the potential to be another great New Zealand author, although it feels a little cheeky claiming Wilson as a Kiwi seeing as he has lived in many different parts of the world. A fun little read and a great escape on a quiet afternoon.
If you like this book then try:
- Red rocks by Rachael King
- The Halfmen of O by Maurice Gee
- Maddy West and the tongue taker by Brian Falkner
- Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
- Hollow Earth by John Barrownman and Carole Barrowman
- Finding the fox by Ali Sparkes
- Nest of lies by Heather McQuillan
- The water horse by Dick King-Smith
- Museum of thieves by Lian Tanner
- The real thing by Brian Falkner
- Northwood by Brian Falkner
Reviewed by Brilla