My young reviewer, Jazzy from Jazzy’s Bookshelf, emailed me her review of ‘The Wonderling’ by Mira Bartók just this afternoon and I couldn’t get it up on the blog fast enough! I’ve had this book by my bed for some time now, but it keeps being buried under work for school (it’s Term Four…don’t even talk to me about schoolwork). So I was beside myself that Jazzy had read the book ‘for me’ as she and I have similar taste in books and I always find her reviews insightful. I will now of course have to move ‘The Wonderling’ to the top of my reading pile and possibly pass it on to PudStar. So many books! So little time!
Thank you lovely Jazzy – your emails always brighten my day and your reviews are always wonderful. For those of you who do not know Jazzy, she is 12 years old and I’ve never met her ‘IRL’ but I feel like I know her well, simply through her reviews here on Children’s Books Daily and on her own blog. She’s also a great ambassador for the MS Readathon.
Number Thirteen watched in horror as Mug threw the poor thing as high as he could. But Mug failed to throw her over the Wall and so caught her once again in his grubby mitts. The Rat ordered him to pass the furry ball to Orlick, who was next in line. Mug growled at Orlick, who grabbed the creature and lifted her up for the big toss.
“St-st-” Number Thirteen stammered. “S-stop!” But no one heard him through the waterfall, the peals of laughter, and the rain.
In this entrancing fantasy story, Number Thirteen is a ten-year-old, one-eared fox groundling with a big heart. Groundlings are half-human and half-animal who suffer daily at the hands of villainess, Miss Carbunkle. He loves to sing even though it is strictly forbidden in the place he lives, which is Miss Carbunkle’s Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. Early on, the main character discovers he has a special talent: He can understand what mice are saying. Number Thirteen escapes the home with the assistance of his new mouse friend, Trinket. She names him, “Arthur” and he in turn is touched as he has never had a proper name. After escaping the Home, Trinket wants to find her uncle and Arthur strives to discover his old life at 17 Tintagel Road. Once they part ways, Number Thirteen is left to fend for himself in the wild. He must find his parents alone and fulfil his destiny…
The very first thing you will notice about ‘The Wonderling’ is its exquisite presentation; this is a hardcover book with an attractive design. It is certain to look brilliant on your bookcase and make the perfect gift.
I had high expectations before reading this tale as I had heard it is also being developed into a movie.
Author Mira Bartók has created such an extraordinary world. I powered through the pages, loving to read something different.
Arthur and his friends have been raised not knowing the difference between right and wrong. Despite this, there are bullies. The author has added some nice quirky touches to characters, giving them accents, stutters and speech impediments. The cunning Miss Carbunkle is distinguishable by her astonishingly large flaming-orange wig.
My favourite groundling is certainly Trinket. She is so enthusiastic, encouraging and helps others out. Trinket was most likely embarrassed when Number Thirteen, aka Arthur, stumbled upon her as a wounded and vulnerable bird – a position she is not normally in.
I found it really inspiring how the author drew her own pictures. Previously, I associated such images with picture books, but the drawings made me feel closer to Mira’s characters. I love drawing and writing, so perhaps I could end up doing that sort of thing one day, too!
I recommend ‘The Wonderling’ to kids aged nine and over because of the reading level and perilous themes.
I think the moral to this story is that true friendship is forever. I give ‘The Wonderling’ four-and-a-half bookbolts out of five.
See more of Jazzy’s Reviews here.
‘The Wonderling’ by Mira Bartók
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd