The Wonderling by Mira Bartok

The Wonderling

Written by Mira Bartok

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October 2017 Debut of the Month

In a Nutshell: Half-human, half-fox foundling seeks true destiny

Sparkling with the wit and wonder of a children’s classic, this exuberant quest-driven debut is a treat for readers of ten and over.

Wonderling Arthur is a quiet kind of soul, but desperate to find his place in the world, which isn’t easy when you live in Miss Carbunkle’s Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. The part-human, part-animal ‘groundlings’ in her charge are denied the usual joys of childhood, and must toil, toil, toil. But when Arthur befriends bird groundling, Trinket, the new companions find a way to escape, though Arthur must summon all his courage to do so. The language dances and sings as Arthur and Trinket set off on their adventure beyond the cruel confines of the Home. Their story is a chorus of charm and wonderment, of friendship and hope, and comes highly recommended as a tale to share aloud as autumn draws in.

Special mention must be made of the book’s physical gloriousness. It’s a satisfyingly weighty tome, with evocatively intricate illustrations by the author. This is truly a book to treasure, and will be adored by readers who love the middle grade magic of the likes of Cornelia Funke and Michael Ende. ~ Joanne Owen


The Wonderling by Mira Bartok

In this extraordinary debut novel with its deft nod to Dickensian heroes and rogues, Mira Bartok tells the story of Arthur, a shy, fox-like foundling with only one ear and a desperate desire to belong, as he seeks his destiny.Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name - a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck - it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home's loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name - Arthur, like the good king in the old stories - and a best friend. Using Trinket's ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur's true destiny.


Full of hope and heart, The Wonderling is one of those stories that feels as familiar - yet unique - as a friend. A triumphant debut. Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of Girl of Ink and Stars

[...] a richly imaging fantasy adventure. The Bookseller

About the Author

Mira Bartok is a writer and artist whose New York Times best-selling memoir, The Memory Palace: A Memoir, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. The Wonderling is her first novel for young readers. She lives in Western Massachusetts.

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Book Info


464 pages


Mira Bartok
More books by Mira Bartok


Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

28th September 2017




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