How To Catch A Bogle is written by Catherine Jinks. It was published in 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
“In the mean streets of Victorian London, orphans must do the most dangerous and unsavory jobs just to survive. Which is why Birdie considers herself lucky to be apprenticed to Alfred the Bogler, a man who traps and kills monsters for a living. It’s a far better life than mudlarking for flotsam in the stinky Thames or toshing things from the even stinkier sewers.
Sure, Birdie’s job is dangerous, since she is the bait for monsters who’d love a tasty child for dinner. But she’s fast and light on her feet, and she can sing like the bird she’s named for, so no bogle is every going to catch her. Or so Birdie thinks—until the orphans of London start to disappear…”
So, when I first saw the title of this book and started reading, I thought, “Oh, this is a cute book. It’s about a girl helping to catch bogles and being utterly charming.” Then Miss Eames comes along, who’s all “BOGLES LIKE PIE. I BROUGHT A PIE. LET’S TRY TO MAKE THE BOGLE EAT THE PIE. LOOK AT MY PIE,” and I thought, “Yep, still cute. Still funny. Still charming.” And then, suddenly, the cute and funny novel I’m reading suddenly gets really dark when Birdie gets kidnapped and packed off to a sanitarium where she’s put in a strait jacket. And then a bogle almost kills everyone. Still a cute, funny book, but not nearly as light-hearted as the title implies (which is also historically accurate since Victorian London wasn’t a very fun place, especially for orphans)
Awwwww to Alfred and Birdie. I adore father/daughter relationships in books. Not awwwww to Ned and Birdie, because it felt slightly creepy and Birdie’s ten, Ned (who could be ten, also, but seemed more like 12 or 13).
This is apparently the first book in a trilogy, although the book as it stands is completely stand-alone. I assume any other books will simply include the main cast of characters with a new plot.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Warnings: The sanitarium and the bogles could be scary for children.
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Slowly, silently, something dim and dense surged out of the chimney and onto the hearth. It came in a cloud of soot that blurred its hulking silhouette. It had eyes as red as rubies, and curling horns, and flaring nostrils. Its black scales were like chips of slate. Birdie even caught a glimpse of arms unfolding, but her hand was shaking so violently that the image in the mirror wasn’t crystal clear.
What started out cute and funny turned much darker about halfway through the book, but despite that How To Catch A Bogle has an interesting fantastic touch to the world of Victorian London, a compelling plot and characters, and a very sweet relationship between Alfred and Birdie. Also, Miss Eames and her pie will always make me laugh.
You can buy this here: How to Catch a Bogle