Jinks, Catherine. A Plague of Bogles. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2015. $16.99. 330 pages. Language: G (3 swears). Sexual content: G. Violence: PG (the premise of the book is that the monster called a bogle only eats children or babies, so for every bogle they kill there is at least one dead child [the reader is told of the child’s disappearance]. One of the villains is a baby farmer and is feeding babies to the bogles).
A sequel to How to Catch a Bogle, this story is told from Jem’s perspective, a former pickpocket, turned grocer’s boy who recently lost his job. Jem passes a sign that advertises Birdie McAdam, his friend, Jem tries to enter to speak to her but the proprietor won’t let him in. This seems a bit suspicious to Jem, so he visits Birdie’s old boss, the former bogler, Alfred bringing with him a lady called Mabel who needs a bogler. Alfred is retired now, but Mabel convinces him to kill her bogle and Jem volunteers to be his helper. Alfred tells Miss Eames and Birdie about the false advertising and they put it to a stop. Meanwhile it seems that one area of town, particularly by the sewers, is full of bogles. Alfred needs more than one child helper to combat them. Birdie is eager to be of use, but Miss Eames believes it to be too dangerous. Jem is also searching for Sarah Pickles who used to be his boss and in the first book tried to have him fed to a bogle. He discovers she has a new sinister business that is attracting the bogles. Can he bring his former boss to justice? Or will he suffer the fate of all those other children who were eaten by a bogle? The plot is fast-paced and exciting. Although it is historical fiction, children will relate to the characters and their desire to be of use and important in an adult world. Author Jinks, accurately portrays the darker world of poverty-stricken Victorian London and what life was like for the lower classes creating a dark, interesting read.
EL-ADVISABLE. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.