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The Wonderling

Review

The Wonderling

How does one begin to describe THE WONDERLING? The first words that come to mind are "steampunk fantasy," but this magical little book is far, far more than that. Set in a world populated by creatures who are half-human, half-animal, THE WONDERLING reads like a classic fable with a gutsy, modern twist on magic. that has fallen through a Dickensian tree and landed in the arms of a cuddly creature.

The star of THE WONDERLING is a fox-like creature with one ear known only as Number 13. Number 13 has been an orphan for as long as he can remember, and has lived at Miss Carbunkle's Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. Miss Carbunkle's Home is a miserable place, where the joy is sucked out of the children's lives and they are forced into tedious tasks and often humiliated.

"Bartok has delivered what I hope will become a treasured classic in children's literature. THE WONDERLING is magical, morally-sound and a true treat for readers of all ages."

Although Number 13 leads a hard life, he is endlessly sweet and compassionate about the creatures around him. When a new orphan comes to the home, he swiftly steps in to defend her from bullies and his life is forever changed.

Number 13's new friend is a small, featherless bird named Trinket. Swept off her feet by his bravery, Trinket names her hero Arthur after the legendary King. Unlike Arthur, Trinket remembers life outside of the Home and soon develops a plan to get both of them out of there for good.

As in any fable, the mysterious villain, Miss Carbunkle, is hiding a grand, devious scheme, and she will stop at nothing to capture her two escapees and bring her dastardly dream to life. Will Arthur and Trinket be able to find the freedom they so desire and save the other orphans? You'll have to pick up THE WONDERLING to find out.

Bartok has delivered what I hope will become a treasured classic in children's literature. THE WONDERLING is magical, morally-sound and a true treat for readers of all ages. Young readers will instantly fall for Number 13/Arthur and his sweet nature, while rooting for him to gain the confidence that will propel him forward through his miserable life at the Home. Bartok writes with a lyrical, cadenced voice and her ability to craft a new, magical world knows no bounds.

I have recently read that THE WONDERLING is on its way to becoming a feature film, and although I will always treasure my own idea of the world and characters, I cannot wait to see them brought to life so that other readers may discover the joys and, well, wonder of this outstanding book.

Reviewed by Audrey Slater on September 29, 2017

The Wonderling
by Mira Bartok