Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Catch a Bogle (City of Orphans, #1)” as Want to Read:
How to Catch a Bogle (City of Orphans, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Catch a Bogle

(City of Orphans / Bogle #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,588 ratings  ·  299 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 k
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How to Catch a Bogle, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Catch a Bogle

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,588 ratings  ·  299 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of How to Catch a Bogle (City of Orphans, #1)
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 an
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 frie
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? ...more
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 McAda
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. ...more
Kristen Harvey
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 ap ...more
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 th
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 t
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
Dave 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 authenti ...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 m ...more
One Sentence Review: Top notch, thoroughly enjoyable, and the kind of book you just sink into and enjoy like a warm, hot bath.
Gretchen Bernet-Ward
Before reading Catherine Jinks adult novel ‘Shepherd’ I read her children’s trilogy City of Orphans. The stories captured my interest from the first page and held it to the last. Following the adventures of young orphan Birdie McAdam, a lively, focused girl with a beautiful singing voice, I soon blended into the damp, grimy streets of 1870s London.

Birdie has entertaining friends, although she wouldn’t admit that to urchins Ned or Jem who also get to shine. Birdie is a bogler's assistant, a stou
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kevin Walsh
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great entry to the canon of "monsters exist and they DO kill children, but they disappear when they die so there is no fossil record of them." I'm looking forward to jumping right into the next book in the series, so I'm sad my library doesn't have it. Birdy is a great character and I look forward to reading more about her. ...more
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. ...more
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. Sure
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
Adele Broadbent
Bridie is a ten year old apprentice to a Bogler. This is a respectable trade in 19th Century London – ridding the city of monsters who snatch children from cupboards, chimneys and other dark places.
They meet Miss Edith Eames, a wealthy lady who has researched all manner of monsters, and who pays to come along and watch them work. Bridie is bait – singing to draw out the monster. Alfred then slays it with his spear.

But bogles aren't the only thing they will have to defeat. Someone in town is summ
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 themsel
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. ...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.
Really enjoyed this - read it with a group of Grade 5/6 students as a literature circle text. It's definitely a bit gruesome (which they loved) and has old fashioned vocabulary that will push them out of their comfort zones. The characters are well written and multi dimensional and I loved seeing a strong female lead character who can stand up for herself, despite the low goals others set for her. ...more
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. ...more
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.... ...more
The Book Squirrel
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. ...more
Christi M
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
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 characte
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 be a
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Path Begins (The Thickety, #1)
  • An Unnatural Beanstalk (Entwined Tales, #2)
  • A Case of Cat and Mouse (Magical Cats Mystery #12)
  • The Missing Prince (Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger, #4)
  • Get Out of That Pit!: Straight Talk about God's Deliverance
  • Scary Stories for Young Foxes
  • Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery,  a Very Strange Adventure
  • The Porcupine Year
  • Cinders and Sparrows
  • Fork-Tongue Charmers (The Luck Uglies, #2)
  • Rise of the Ragged Clover (The Luck Uglies, #3)
  • The Hunt for Dark Infinity (The 13th Reality, #2)
  • Nowhere Near You (Because You'll Never Meet Me, #2)
  • Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape (Toto the Ninja Cat, #1)
  • The Drover's Wife
  • Only the Animals
  • Foundling (Monster Blood Tattoo, #1)
  • Logan Likes Mary Anne! (Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels #8)
See similar books…
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)

Related Articles

Angeline Boulley set out over a decade ago to write the story she wanted to read as a young Ojibwe teenager. The result is Firekeeper's Daughter,...
3 likes · 0 comments