Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Wonderling

The Wonderling

Fall 2017 Fiction
Ages: 10 - 14 yrs.
Author: Mira Bartók
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763691219
Hardcover Price: $21.99

If books are brain food, The Wonderling is an ice cream sundae loaded up with the works. It's rich, layered and begging to be devoured, starting off with its delightfully-named orphanage, "Miss Carbunkle's Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures."

The orphanage is where Thirteen, the story's hero, resides. It's a bleak Dickensian place full of bullies, beatings and lousy food, run by evil Miss Carbunkle and her sniveling sidekick Mr. Sneezeword.

Thirteen is a sweet and shy groundling living a lonely friendless life. He knows nothing about his past—thus his number for a name—and has little hope for his future. Groundlings are a human/animal hybrid; in Thirteen's case a fuzzy fox face with the upright stance of a boy. His quiet demeanor, stutter and missing ear render him completely ill-equipped for Carbunkle's world and he endures a miserable existence there, until he meets Trinket, a spunky little bird.

Trinket in short order, re-names her friend "Arthur" (as in King), stages a risky office break-in to peek at his file and hatches an escape plan.

The file has one piece of information: 17 Tintagel Road, Lumentown. It's Arthur's only known address, and now the pair's Holy Grail.

The story is magical and fantastic. The journey is dark and dangerous but still delightful, and the characters—villains, too—are all lovable in their own way.

Author Mia Bartok includes her own illustrations which are an added treat; a cherry on top of this ice cream sundae of a book.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

Look for this product at:
Candlewick Press

Share This