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How to Catch a Bogle

(City of Orphans / Bogle #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,522 ratings  ·  287 reviews
If ever a chill entered her soul, or the hope suddenly drained from her heart, she knew a bogle was to blame. Birdie McAdam, a ten-year-old orphan,is tougher than she looks. She's proud of her job as apprentice to Alfred the Bogler, a man who catches monsters for a living. Birdie lures the bogles out of their lairs with her sweet songs, and Alfred kills them before they ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  1,522 ratings  ·  287 reviews

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Richard Cardenas
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 STARS!

This was a pretty fun read! I loved how it jumped right into action on the first page, though I do have to say 100 pages could've easily been cut from this, it dawdled on in parts when things could've been wrapped up very neatly and quickly. As I said it was a fun read, it had an awesome 9 year old feisty heroine, supernatural creatures, and it took place in the Victorian era, which we all know I love. I read this on audio as well, though the narrator's version of the main character
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is marketed to the 9 to 12 year old age group and seems perfect for that category of readers.* It's a cute fantasy tale set in Victorian England. Birdie is an eleven year old orphan girl who's apprenticed to a bogler named Alfred. A bogle is a child eating monster and Birdie, unfortunately, is the bait. She stands in the magic salt circle and sings in order to lure the monster out so Alfred can kill him. Then she runs like crazy so she doesn't get eaten.

Alfred and Birdie meet many
Sep 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: victorian, younger
Liked the idea, but the pacing was off. The central plot conflict doesn't really emerge until quite near the end, and the antagonist is terribly flat. He is a ruthlessly evil doctor, willing to kill lots of kids to get what he wants, and what he wants is... a bogle? Really? All they seem to do is live in dark holes and eat people, what's he going to do with it?
Lisa Fleetwood
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
From page one, A Very Unusual Pursuit jumps straight into the action when Birdie, a ten-year old girl and Alfred, the Go-Devil man - the catcher of bogles - arrives on the door step of a well-to-do house in the streets of 19th century London. A child is missing and Alfred and his apprentice Birdie have been called in to catch the bogle lurking in the chimney.

'Monsters have been infesting London's dark places for centuries, eating any child who gets too close. That's why ten-year old Birdie
This book was recommended to me by my friend Kaethe, and let me just say, she suggests some excellent books!

How to Catch a Bogle was kinda sorta Harry Potter meets Charles Dickens, but more emphasis on Dickens than Potter. The story was engaging from page one, and I tore through this thing! Yes, the book is a young adult book, but it's a mature book. It doesn't shy away from the plight of poor people, children in particular, in Victorian England, and it paints a bleak picture of survival for
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Birdie is an orphan, one who was lucky to be found and apprenticed rather than sent to the local work house. In Victorian London, the work houses are notorious for starvation, over-work, and misery. Instead, Birdie has a home, food to eat, and a job. Only problem is, Birdie's job is to act as bait - for the bogles. When children start disappearing, Birdie finds that not all is as it seems...

I read a lot of "children" and "young adult" books for two reasons. One - I have two children and I like
David Schaafsma
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: tweens
Read this aloud with three kids 7-9. We all liked it, but I think it is better to read than to be read to. This is a throughly researched book by Australian Jinks, very much a kind of mix of Dickensian Victorian England and Harry Potter fantasy (a bogle is a spook or monster and the main characters work as boglers, hired to get bogles out of houses like soot out of a chimney… only they are monsters. The language is sometimes dense, meaning Jinks uses precise language from the period for ...more
Alex Marshall
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. I bought it for my 8 year old son, but I read it as well, and later my wife. It's kind of like Oliver Twist meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Really great historical detail. The author really seems to have done her homework. Great characters, and great soul. I love the moral choices the characters make.
One Sentence Review: Top notch, thoroughly enjoyable, and the kind of book you just sink into and enjoy like a warm, hot bath.
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catherine Craig
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How to Catch a Bogle is a very interesting book about a young girl named Birdy who has quite the talent for singing. She works for a Bogler- a person who hunts a kills Bogles. Throughout the book, you will learn about the dangers of Birdy's job, singing to lure Bogle's out of their hiding places. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a funny book with a fantasy twist.
Quite good, but slow in parts. I probably wouldn't read the following books in the series, but I would offer it as a reading option to children (ages 9-12) who like fantasy mystery with just a tiny touch of horror.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even though I like the author i put off reading this book because of the atrocious cover. Quite enjoyed it once I actually started into it though. Genuinly creepy at times and funny at others.
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, library
I found this to be a truly satisfying historical fantasy. It has scary bits, funny bits, and thoughtful bits. It has a great central character, who's both believable and likable, and a nuanced supporting cast (including adults who are interesting people too!). And it has a really good story.

As an impoverished (but plucky) Victorian orphan, Birdie knows what it's like to live on the edge of nightmarish destitution. So she considers herself fortunate to be the apprentice of Alfred the Bogler.
How to Catch a Bogle is the story of orphan Birdie, apprentice to London's bogler Alfred, a man who destroys the monsters during the Victorian era. It's Birdie's job to lure the monsters out of their lairs so Alfred can kill them. It may seem a dangerous job, but she could be worse off. She feels that way until distinguished Miss Eames comes along to watch the mysterious business of catching and disposing of bogles. Miss Eames tries to convince her to pursue another line of work and even offers ...more
Alyssa Nelson
This was one of the most delightful middle grade books I’ve read in a long time. I love fantasy books, especially those that deal in the real world and incorporate different mythologies, so How to Catch a Bogle drew me in right away. It has a Charles Dickens flair, focusing on Birdie, who was the daughter of a tosher and who is now an apprentice to Alfred the Bogler. Their first assignment brings them into contact with a proper lady, Edith Eames, who’s interested in creating a more scientific ...more
You can find this, and other reviews, on my blog.

I picked this book up on a whim, and was well-rewarded. A Very Unusual Pursuit follows Birdie McAdams as she assists her master, Alfred Bunce, in capturing bogles - fey beasties that like to eat children.

Birdie is a delightfully feisty young lady, who wants nothing more than to help Mr Bunce in his attempts to save London’s children from all the lurking nasties. Not everyone wants the bogles to be vanquished, however, and so they must pit
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable little piece of historical fantasy-- think Oliver Twist with supernatural elements. Recommended for fans of Fly by Night, Peter and the Starcatchers, and The Chronicles of Narnia.
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bea-2013, arc
The computers were down at work, which meant I got to read! I finished this quickly, racing to get to the end. I loved Birdie, she was a great, strong female lead. Brave and realistic, though a tad stubborn and headstrong, but who isn't? The setting was one of my favorites, Victorian England and it was told well. It was believable and matched what I know of that time period. The bogles were deliciously frightening. The danger and suspense was very real, I truly worried for Birdie. It wasn't all ...more
Narrated by Mandy Williams, this haunting children's book is a must read or listen - set in Victorian London, the story follows Birdie, "a bogler's girl", apprentice to a "Godevil" man, Alfred. She lures dark creatures who are powered by their diet of children, with her beautiful voice into salt rimmed death traps. Jinks presents the reader with a strong young female character and an interesting mystery with just the right amount of suspense and action. I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book and ...more
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this audio-book. The narrator did a nice job with all of the voices. The story itself was entertaining. I liked Birdie as a main character. The boys were fun too.
For those of you unfamiliar with bogles, they are child-eating monsters. Alfred is a bogler (meaning he kills them), and Birdie is a child and therefore bait. Don't worry, it isn't as bad as it sounds, she's pretty safe. Sort of. The two of them, as well as a few others, have quite the adventure.
Susan  Dunn
10-year-old Birdie is apprenticed to Alfred Bunce, the bogler. Birdie lures the horrible creatures out of their lairs them out with her beautiful singing voice and then Alfred kills them. It's a lucrative business - until an evil man tries to exploit them for his own gain. First in a series.
Connie Hirsch
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
True Dickensian fantasy, with the emphasis on characterization -- I love Jinks' dialogue, which keeps class differences clear, and the mindsets of the protagonists, especially Birdie McAdam, the bogler's apprentice. And then there's the use of murder ballads....
Christi M
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Set in Victorian England, How to Catch a Bogle tells the story of 10-year old Birdie McAdams who is an apprentice to Alfred the Bogler. A bogle is a monster that hides in dark places and eats unsuspecting children. Birdie's job as an apprentice is to sing songs that lure the bogles out from their hiding places in time for Alfred to kill it.

Instead of reading the book, I listened to it on audio, narrated by Mandy Williams. I found the audio version done rather well. She created multiple
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Welcome to a Dickensian underbelly of London where missing children often turn out to have been eaten by monsters known as bogles, which haunt chimneys and sewers. Here young Birdie McAdam scratches out a living as an apprentice to a veteran bogler named Alfred Bunce. Combining Birdie's tireless, tuneful voice with a quick thrust from Alfred's demon-slaying spear, the pair makes short work of these nasties.

In another era (say, that of Jonathan Stroud's "Lockwood & Co." thrillers), it would
Valerie McEnroe
I love books about imps, trolls, and goblins, but bogles? This creature is new to me. Evidently we don’t have bogles in America, but they run rampant in England. They make trolls and goblins look like pushovers. Judging by the book cover, they are downright nasty looking. In fact, they eat children, making their annihilation a matter of great concern. That brings us to the title of this book. To catch a bogle, you need a trained professional, aka a bogler. Alfred is the bogler and Birdie is the ...more
This is a fun and fast-paced novel with characters and milieu to spare. Ms. Jinks’s novel is almost Dickensian in its sweep of jolly old London. She describes a variety of people and places, manners and mores, interiors and exteriors. From the elegant and well-meaning Miss Eames to the unscrupulous Sarah Pickles, the book teems with a panoply of fascinating men, women and children, each lending their particular color to the plot.

Holding these various strands together is Birdie McAdams. She is a
A solid fantasy for those who love tales of Victorian London, orphans, and monsters served with a little thrill of horror. I was looking forward to this, because I enjoyed the author’s The Reformed Vampire Support Group.

I found Birdie’s relationship with Alfred a bit incomprehensible. He completely lacked any warmth or tenderness toward her. He was a good bogler, rigidly determined not to lose another apprentice, and the text is clear that he does not use his fists on his young charge. But that
Kerryn Lawson
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While slow to get going this ended up being an enjoyable read. Set in 1870 it is a very different life for Birdie, who is the bait for catching bogles- the mysterious monsters responsible for young children that appear to be disappearing. Can Birdie, Alfred and Miss Eames catch the bogles responsible? Will Birdie’s life take another path? If you don’t fancy books set in 1800’s or fantasy then this might not be the book for you but if either one of those things interest you definitely give it a ...more
Robyn McIntyre
This first of the series is a fun book, a sort of paranormal Dickensian novel with a lot less angst. It's aimed, of course, at younger readers and serves up a story both entertaining and interesting about a girl trying to make her way as a Bogle exorcist after her mentor dies. As you can imagine, this is not easy in Victorian England where girls without families don't manage businesses, let alone one luring monsters out of hiding with an angelic voice and hoping someone will kill them before ...more
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Catherine Jinks is the Australian author of more than thirty books for all ages. She has garnered many awards, including the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award(three times), the Victorian Premier’s Award, the Aurealis Award for Science Fiction, the Australian Ibby Award, and the Davitt Award for Crime Fiction. Her work has been published in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, ...more

Other books in the series

City of Orphans / Bogle (3 books)
  • A Plague of Bogles (City of Orphans, #2)
  • A Very Singular Guild (City of Orphans, #3)