Monday, October 30, 2017

The Wonderling by Mira Bartok - ADVISABLE

Bartok, Mira The Wonderling Pgs. 450. Candlewick Press, 2017. $21.99. Language: G, Mature Content: G; Violence: G.

Arthur can’t remember how he ended up at the horribly dismal orphanage for wayward and misbegotten creatures. Like all the orphans, he is a lowly groundling, part human and part animal. Life is bleak for Arthur until an optimistic bird-like groundling arrives and befriends him. Together they plan a successful escape to the city where Arthur hopes to find his family. He is ill-prepared to live on his own in a strange city. Luckily, a good-natured rat gives him a place to stay and teaches him the ways of the street life. Arthur isn’t cut out for a life of crime and he botches the job on his first try. Through a series of mishaps, including banishment to the sewers, Arthur ends up back at the orphanage to face the evil headmistress and save the one thing he can’t live without.  

For children and teens who like the animal fantasy genre this is a definite win. The characters are rich and authentic, unique and different. The rats are especially convincing with their British accents. The story centers around the classic conflict of good triumphing over evil. The evil characters are not to be underestimated. In fact, younger children would probably find this story very disturbing. Characters are horribly mistreated at the orphanage and in the sewers. However, there are so many positive messages in this book, that it ends up being a feel-good story for older children.

 EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Valerie McEnroe, Media Specialist

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