by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
The Wonderling, by Mira Bartók. Map, illustrations by the author.
Summerville, MA, Candlewick Press, September 2017, hardcover, $21.99 ([vii +] 450 pages), Kindle $9.46.
The Wonderling is a Young Adult fantasy recommended for grades 5 to 9; ages 10 to 14. It has “already been put into development for a major motion picture,” according to the blurb.
It has been compared to the novels by Charles Dickens about wretched orphans in Victorian England. Think of A Christmas Carol or Oliver Twist, with furries – or at least strange beasts.
“He looked like a young fox but stood upright like a child and had no tail to speak of. His eyes were a lovely chestnut brown and flecked with gold. But there was something about them that gave one the sense that, although he had not been in this world very long, he carried within him some inexplicable sorrow.
He was a creature with an innocent heart. What kind of creature, though, who could say? Despite his fox kit face, his snout was more dog than fox, and there was something rabbity about him too, in the way his nose twitched when he sensed danger, and how he trembled when he heard the loud clang of the orphanage bell. But the most singular thing about him was that he had only one ear.
But Number Thirteen – one-eared, nameless, and small of stature, for he never grew taller than three feet high – could not remember where he came from.” (pgs. 4-5)
Number Thirteen has been raised from infancy in Miss Carbuncle’s large Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, just outside the large “Great White City of Lumentown”. He is about 11 years old.
“On the front of the Home’s brochure was a happy-go-lucky creature with the head of a rabbit and the body of a little girl, wearing a polka-dot dress and bow, clutching a bouquet of daisies. Beneath the picture, the caption read: Have you been unexpectedly burdened by a recently orphaned or unclaimed creature? Worry not! We have just the solution for you!” (pgs. 6-7)