Birdie McAdams thinks she has the best job in the world. She’s an orphan in London in the 1870s, so she could have ended up a beggar or a thief — or a tosher scavenging through filthy sewers. Or worst of all, she could have been stuck in a dreaded workhouse. But instead, lucky Birdie is the bogler’s apprentice.
What is a bogler? A bogler kills bogles, monsters that lurk in dark places like chimneys and sewers and abandoned old wells. Bogles eat children.
The bogler kills these terrible monsters, but he needs a child with a beautiful voice to lure them within reach. This is Birdie’s job. She is bait in the bogle traps. The work is dangerous, but it’s honorable, and Birdie is steady and quick and good at her job.
Then well-off Miss Eames enters the picture. She’s interested in things like bogles, though she doesn’t quite believe they’re real. Once Miss Eames sees one, she insists that Birdie’s job is too dangerous. She suggests there must be a way to catch bogles without using children as bait. Birdie doesn’t want to hear it. If the bogler no longer needs her as an apprentice, what would she do? She might be forced to become a thief or a tosher after all. And that is not what Birdie wants!
Genre: historical fantasy
Birdie has good reasons for being afraid of the workhouse. Try pairing How to Catch a Bogle with Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London by Andrea Warren, a non-fiction title that gives an in-depth look at the life orphans faced in Victorian England.