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How to Catch a Bogle (City of Orphans, #1)
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How to Catch a Bogle (City of Orphans / Bogle #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,018 Ratings  ·  240 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 ki ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2013)
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Oct 18, 2013 Cynthia 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 Miriam 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
Aug 24, 2014 Lisa Fleetwood 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
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 tho
Dec 12, 2013 Beth 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
Alex Marshall
Oct 07, 2013 Alex Marshall 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.
Birdie is the bogler's apprentice. She helps Alfred the bogler by luring bogles out into the open with her singing and then Alfred kills them. Bogles are monsters who like to eat children so it takes a child to lure them out. Alfred and Birdie help all kinds of people throughout Victorian London. Birdie loves what she does even if she is sometimes afraid. Alfred and Birdie don't have a lot but they have a room and food and each other. One day they are hired by Mrs. Eames who wants to learn more ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Staci rated it it was amazing
Have you ever felt like something was lurking in the darkness just waiting for a chance to slurp you up into its slimy cavernous mouth? Certainly it was just your imagination…right? Not if you ask Birdie McAdam. She’s a bogler’s apprentice and she knows all-too-well that bogles (monsters to you and me) definitely do exist, and they are devouring children all over London. Working with her mentor Alfred Bunce, Birdie uses her lilting voice to lure the heinous creatures out of their hiding places s ...more
Becky B
Birdie is a bogler's girl. An apprentice who sings sweetly to lure the bogles out of the hiding places so Alfred Bunce can dispatch them. Yes, it is a bit of a risky job, but Birdie feels she has it pretty good. It keeps her out of the poor house and she doesn't have to trudge through sewers or anything, there are plenty of worse jobs in Victorian London for an orphan. After a job ridding a chimney of a chimney sweep-eating monster, Alfred and Birdie find themselves making the acquaintence of a ...more
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brandy Painter
Originally reviewed here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

Historical fantasy is always a lot of fun, and Catherine Jinks certainly brings the fun (along with the slightly creepy) in her new novel How to Catch a Bogle. This will appeal to kids who genuinely like historical fiction as well as fantasy. It will have to be a reader who doesn't minds sticking with a story that doesn't seem like it's going anywhere though.

Birdie is a fierce, determined, brave heroine. She sings beautifully, which is
Ms. Yingling
Sep 29, 2013 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
In Victorian London, Birdie feels fortunate to help Alfred, the bogler. She sings and attracts the bogles, he dispatches them, and she gets food, clothing and shelter in return. She doesn't feel that she is in danger, and is pleased that she is helping to save other children from the horrible monsters. When the upper class Miss Eames starts to pay Alfred to tag along to the bogle slayings, Birdie is rather annoyed. Miss Eames feels that Birdie is in peril, and offers to take her in, pay for musi ...more
Sep 30, 2013 Charlotte 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
Dec 09, 2013 LJ rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Schaafsma
Sep 25, 2014 David Schaafsma 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
Kitten Kisser
Sep 04, 2014 Kitten Kisser rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
While this is an adventurous book to allow the kiddos to read on their own, I found it much more suitable to read aloud. The main character Birdie is sassy, brave & caring. She works for a gruff man named Alfred & he has a soft spot for her. They meet all sorts of unsavory characters while dealing with child eating Bogles! They even find themselves befriend by some of the upper class. Set in Victorian London, the dialect is simply brilliant. The Harry Potter series plus the movies are a ...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 themsel
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.
Jun 14, 2015 Caity rated it it was amazing
This is a fun story, the main character Birdie is brave, headstrong and resistant to change. She is the apprentice to the bogle man and believes she has the best job in the world. She has a beautiful singing voice which she uses to lure in the bogles so they can be killed. The bogels in the story take many different forms but they are all child eating monsters and without the bogle man many children would die so Birdie takes a lot of pride in her work. She faces a lot of tough decisions though w ...more
Connie Hirsch
Jul 29, 2014 Connie Hirsch 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....
Feb 08, 2014 April rated it really liked it
I was totally in the mood for a middle grade story, especially one with a fantasy focus. How To Catch A Bogle by Catherine Jinks seemed like just the charming audiobook I was looking for. Further, I liked the setting which is essentially Dickensian London what with poor houses and all (I always associate poor houses with that time period). Also, how could I resist a book about a young girl who is an apprentice monster aka bogle catcher. That’s kind of awesome, ya know?
Read the rest of my review
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
Ian Wood
Mar 07, 2016 Ian Wood rated it it was amazing
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-
Oct 29, 2015 Chris rated it liked it
Birdie shrugged. "Ain't no shortage o' vermin in this world. And I'd rather be a bogler than a rat catcher."

"But it's so dangerous, Birdie. So unsuitable for a child your age!"

Birdie couldn't help laughing. "I'd rather kill bogles than get black lung in a mine. I'd rather be a bogler's girl than work in a match factory and have me jaw eaten away by acid. Or get stuck in a chimney, or drowned in a sewer, or chopped up by a machine--"

"Yes, I understand that there are many children who must do peri
Mar 05, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade

So, when I first saw the title of this book and started reading, I thought, “Oh, this is a cute book. It’s about a girl helping to catch bogles and being utterly charming.” Then Miss Eames comes along, who’s all “BOGLES LIKE PIE. I BROUGHT A PIE. LET’S TRY TO MAKE THE BOGLE EAT THE PIE. LOOK AT MY PIE,” and I thought, “Yep, still cute. Still funny. Still charming.” And then, suddenly, the cute and funny novel I’m reading suddenly gets really dark when (view spoiler)
Dec 13, 2014 Becky rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading How To Catch A Bogle a Victorian fantasy novel by Catherine Jinks. Birdie, the heroine, is an apprentice to Alfred the Bogler. She's bogle bait. Bogles are monsters who consume children. The action begins quickly in this one. Readers soon see Alfred and Birdie hard at work at this one. Birdie sings beautifully, baiting the trap if you will. Alfred carefully waits until just the right moment... Dangerous work it is. Is it too dangerous? One of Birdie's new acquaintances says it ...more
Aug 16, 2014 Viv rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-fiction
Unlike other orphans in the old London, Birdie considers herself very lucky. When orphans of her age are either recruited by the pickpocket gangs or workhouse, enduring beating, hunger/starvation and/or begging on the streets, she has a roof on her head, clothing, and even her very own bed. Most important of all, she has what she considered a very important and respectable job; she is Alfred Bunce the bogler's apprentice. When they go on a bogle hunt , Birdie works as the bait to lure the bogles ...more
Mar 18, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-ya
How to Catch a Bogle, which is set in London circa 1870, is a fun middle-grade novel that's part fantasy, part historical-fiction: the setting of Victorian London feels very real, aside from the fact that the protagonists spend their days hunting child-eating monsters (bogles). Birdie, who's ten, is a bogler's apprentice/bait: she sings to lure bogles out of chimneys or sewers, after which she gets out of the way in a hurry so her boss, Alfred Bunce, can kill the monster with his spear. We get t ...more
Nelda Brangwin
Jan 31, 2014 Nelda Brangwin rated it really liked it
This Victorian-era children's book is well-paced, setting the stage nicely for the climax. But it won't be for all children. They're going to be readers who like to learn new words for there is a five page glossary of Victorian English slang at the end. And knowing the meaning of those words will help make sense of the book. Birdie is an apprentice to a bogle-catcher. These nasty monsters are stealing children all over London. BIrdie's job is to stand outside the hiding hole of the bogle and dra ...more
Ashley Aldrich
May 16, 2014 Ashley Aldrich rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-lit
If monsters are a problem then there are no better people in Victorian London to help than Alfred Bunce and Birdie McAdams. However, when more and more children begin disappearing, Birdie finds herself caught in plot more sinister than any monster she’s ever encountered. Fast-paced, with humor and genuine emotion, this story had me engrossed from the first page and didn’t let go until the end. The worst part will be waiting for the sequel.
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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
More about Catherine Jinks...

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)

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