Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Catherine Jinks
Illustrator: Sarah Watts
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Ten-year-old Birdie McAdam is in a dangerous apprenticeship working to destroy London’s bogles. These child-eating demons hide out in various places waiting to pounce on any unsuspecting juvenile victim. The bogler, Alfred Bunce, and Birdie have steady employment since it’s such a rare profession. Soon their work catches the attention of Miss Edith Eames, an educated woman who thinks there are more scientific approaches to killing bogles than using young Birdie as bait. One bogling job tests all their limits when extortionist leader, Sarah Pickles, hires Alfred and Birdie to eliminate a bogle inside a home where several of Sarah’s young thieves have disappeared. They destroy the bogle, but the home’s owner, Dr. Morton, has captured the bogle for his own dark purposes. Later, Dr. Morton kidnaps Birdie to force Alfred into entrapping another bogle. With the help of Miss Eames, Birdie is saved and Dr. Morton is arrested for his murderous actions.
How to Catch a Bogle is an innovative, page-turning adventure with thoughtful character development. For Birdie, life as a bogler’s apprentice gives her purpose and direction, even though bogling is a life-threatening profession. But when Miss Eames enters Birdie’s life, everything seems to be turned upside down. Miss Eames tries to convince Alfred that Birdie should give up bogling for her safety sake. At first, Birdie feels threatened that her whole existence is being taken away. But as Birdie sees Miss Eames’ courage, intuition, and bravery in the face of perilous conditions, Birdie gives Miss Eames’ advice a second thought. Even though bogles thrive on eating children, Jinks has done a good job making this story element more suspenseful than gruesome. Parents, librarians, and teachers have no need to worry about their young readers coming across any violent or graphic scenes.