February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Children Brave Monsters Both Real and Imagined in ‘How To Catch a Bogle’ | Audio Pick

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howtocatchabogleJinks, Catherine. How To Catch a Bogle. 7 CDs. 7:13 hrs. Listening Library. 2014. $45. ISBN 9780804167789. digital download.
Gr 4-7–Victorian England is a dangerous place for children. If they venture too near a chimney, a well, or a dark corner they just might disappear; these are places where hungry bogles often lurk. But London is a safer place with bogler Alfred Bunce and his 10-year-old apprentice, Birdie, on the prowl. Birdie serves as bait using her sweet singing to entice voracious, slimy, smelly bogles to appear. Alfred stands ready for the kill with a spear once owned by legendary warrior Finn M’Coul. An unlikely friendship and a change of fortune for Alfred and Birdie begin when a folklorist learns about their work. Miss Edith Eames then accompanies the bogler and his apprentice on jobs, including a particularly dangerous one that infuriates a true villain. Miss Eames learns that monsters live beyond books and myth—some are men—plus she sees huge potential beyond bogling in Birdie’s beautiful singing voice. The action-packed story and likable characters come alive through the well-paced, dramatically voiced narration. Mandy Williams not only assumes the various accents of Victorian England’s upper and working classes, but also uses a sweet, convincing singing voice for the traditional songs Birdie warbles. In addition to heightening the tale’s tension, the music provides an introduction to sometimes saucy, sometimes grisly 19th-century ballads. The open ending is satisfying and is sure to leave listeners wanting the next installment.–Maria Salvadore, formerly of the Washington, DC Public Library