What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Catherine Jinks' How to Catch a Bogle is the first in a trilogy of fantasy novels set in Victorian London. This book introduces a cast of characters with different reasons for their interest in Bogles: monsters that hide in dark places like wells and chimneys. The setting, period, and well-drawn characters give this novel a Dickensian feel, while fantastical creatures make the plot extremely suspenseful and often frightening. There's some violence and frequent threat of violence against children, as well as a few instances of drinking by an adult. Chloroform is used to sedate kidnap victims.
What's the story?
In Victorian London, Alfred Bunce makes his living by killing Bogles: scary monsters that live hidden in dark places like chimneys and wells. His apprentice, Birdie McAdam is a 10-year-old girl whose beautiful singing voice draws the monsters out of hiding so that Alfred can slay them. The older man and child/employee are very good at their jobs, and they're heroes to many households. Everything becomes a lot more complicated, though, when they meet a wealthy woman with a scholarly interest in Bogle killing, and they let her tag along on a particularly dangerous mission to a house where several boys have disappeared.
Is it any good?
HOW TO CATCH A BOGLE, the first installment in Catherine Jinks' trilogy, hits all the right notes. The central characters of Birdie and Alfred are beautifully rendered as complex, intelligent, caring and brave. There's also a colorful cast of pickpockets, wealthy do-gooders, and evil villains -- all threatened by the terrifying Bogles lurking in dark places.
How to Catch a Bogle is wonderful both as a thrilling fantasy and a charming period piece, and it's all the better because of the way these strong elements are combined. This is a novel that can make fantasy lovers out of historical fiction fans, and vice versa. Sarah Watts's charming black-and-white drawings introduce each chapter; each relates to the plot, but none is violent or frightening.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about historical fantasies. Do you think having How to Catch a Bogle set in Victorian London makes creatures like Bogles seem more or less real?
Why is Birdie angry with Miss Eames when the rich woman wants to help her?
What do you think will happen in Book 2 of the Bogle trilogy? Do you think Birdie will still be a Bogler's girl?
|Topics:||Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Great girl role models, History, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires|
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Publication date:||September 3, 2013|
|Number of pages:||313|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||9 - 12|
|Available on:||Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook|
|Award:||ALA Best and Notable Books|