cover image Wilma Tenderfoot: The Case of the Frozen Hearts

Wilma Tenderfoot: The Case of the Frozen Hearts

Emma Kennedy. Dial, $16.99 (348p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3540-8

Raised on Cooper Island by the unpleasant Madam Skratch at the Lowside Institute for Woeful Children, 10-year-old orphan Wilma Tenderfoot remains determinedly optimistic, reading everything she can about her idol, island detective Theodore P. Goodman. "His noble deeds and intentions lifted Wilma from the drudgery of her everyday existence. How she longed to be a detective like him!" When she is sent off to be a servant to a woman named Mrs. Waldock ("Please feel free to beat her," reads the accompanying note from Madam Skratch), Wilma is delighted to make a friend (a dog named Pickle) and to discover that Goodman lives next door. She sets her heart on becoming his apprentice, despite his reluctance, and when an enormous gem disappears and people start turning up dead, they have a case. First published in the U.K., this first children's book from British author and TV personality Kennedy is characterized by an almost gleefully misanthropic sense of humor, offset by Wilma's enduring good spirits. The fast pace, suspenseful subplots, and gory details should please kids with a taste for wicked humor. Simultaneously available: The Case of the Putrid Poison. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. (Sept.)