Author(s): Mira Bartok
In this extraordinary debut novel, Mira Bartok tells the story of Arthur, a shy, fox-like groundling who sets out on a quest to find 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 groundlings exist only to serve and suffer. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, fox-like eleven-year-old known only as number 13, it is the only home he has ever known. But when unexpected courage leads him to rescue a young bird groundling named Trinket, the Wonderling is given 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 down the path of Arthur's true destiny.
The Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures is a terrible place ruled over by the cruel Miss Carbunkle. It's the only home 'Number Thirteen' can remember but, filled with orphaned and abandoned groundlings (part animal, part human) forced to toil and suffer in Miss Carbunkle's factory, the Home is definitely not a home.
Enter the delightful kiwi, Trinket, (yes, a part kiwi, part human groundling!) who though some ingenuity, invention and a fair bit of cajoling, inspires her new friend, Number Thirteen, to escape. Together they set out into the world to discover their destiny. The world they discover is magical, mythical and mechanical - a socially stratified steampunk city with definite hints of Dickens about it, and a dark underworld of sewers and ancient magic.
The Wonderling is a high-fantasy adventure story that will appeal to fans of Harry Potter and the Warriors series. Recommended for ages 9-12.